For many months Iron Man roamed the streets of Umuahia terrifying passers by. He was very tall, very broad and always carried an iron rod in his hand. The people of Umuahia named him Iron Man and they all felt fearful of him.
Eventually, Amaudo staff collected him from the streets and took him back to Amaudo. They bathed him and gave him fresh clothes, gave him a bed, invited to him to join the community at mealtimes and in the chapel. He was assessed by the psychiatric nurse and given treatment and support to help him with his mental health needs. After eight months he became mentally stable and was an active and popular member of the community. During this time he was learning the skill of carpentry in Amaudo’s skills training unit.
One day a prominent military leader, during the time of the military regime in Nigeria, visited Amaudo with a crew of newsmen. Surprisingly one of the newsmen recognised Iron Man while he was plaining wood in the workshop. He was very curious because he used to know Iron Man as a very violent and destructive mentally ill, homeless man who carried a rod and who people were very afraid of. The journalist was shocked by the transformation and could not imagine what had happened to make the Iron Man so calm and so useful in the workshop at Amaudo. The newsman requested for permission from Amaudo to interview Iron man.
Newsman: Good sir.
Iron man: Good morning
Newsman: Can I speak with you.
Iron Man: You are free:
Newsman: Are you Iron Man – the man we used to see on the streets of Umuahia?
Iron Man: Yes, I am
Newsman: You used to carry rod in your hand when you were on the street in Umuahia and people were afraid of you.
Iron Man: Yes
Newsman: I am surprised that here at Amaudo you are working in the carpentry workshop and you are not carrying the rod or other equipment in the workshop to scare people in the centre but you are calm and you are working with other people here. Why are you not carrying your rod here at Amaudo centre?
Iron Man: While I was in the street as a result of mental illness, people were throwing stones and dangerous objects at me, some spat on me and called me derogatory names so I carried the iron to protect myself from a public attack on me. Here at Amaudo, since I was brought from the street for rehabilitation, no one throws stones at me or abuses me. I don't need the rod to protect myself any longer. I don’t need the rod because I am no longer beaten or abused.
Newsman: This is amazing, Amaudo is changing lives.
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