Is This The Tallest Man In The World;- Mtu Mrefu Zaidi Duniani, Hospitali ya eneo la kaskazini mwa Ghana ilimwambia Sulemana Abdul Samed mwenye umri wa miaka 29 wakati wa uchunguzi wake wa hivi majuzi kwamba alikuwa amefikia urefu wa 9 ft 6in (2.89m).
This would make him the tallest man in the world, but there was a challenge – the rural clinic could not be sure of his height because it did not have the proper measuring equipment.
Is This The Tallest Man In The World? (Je Huyu Anaweza Kuwa Mtu Mrefu Zaidi Duniani)?
Diagnosed with gigantism a few years ago, the young man was attending a monthly appointment to deal with the challenges of living as a giant when he was asked to stand straight against a measuring stick.
The shocked nurse told him: “You have grown taller than the scales.”
Better known to everyone by his nickname Awuche, which means “Let’s Go” in Hausa, he was delighted with the spectacle he was causing.
He wasn’t surprised to hear he was taller, considering he never stopped growing – but it caused a surprise to the staff, who weren’t prepared for such a situation.
The nurse on duty called her colleague, who in turn called another one to ask for help. Soon a group of nurses and health assistants gathered to solve the puzzle of determining his height.
One suggested they find a pole and use it as an extension on their staff to measure its height – and this is how they arrived at their estimate.
‘Bado anakua’ (‘He’s still growing’)
When I met Awuche a few months ago while traveling in northern Ghana, where his fame had spread to the plains of the region, I did not have a measuring tape to confirm his height.
So to settle the matter – and armed with a 16-foot measuring tape – I returned to the village of Gambaga last week.
The plan was to have him lean against a wall, mark the top of his head and then determine his height using a measuring tape.
“The way they measure me, I can’t say everything is right,” Awuche admitted – pleased with my plan to get the full scale.
It seemed to be taller than most of the houses in its neighborhood, but after a good search we found a suitable building with a sufficient wall.
He took off his shoes – large shoes specially made from car tires and nailed them together with a local worker because he couldn’t find shoes that fit him.
One of his neighbors climbed on a wooden stool to reach Awuche’s height so that he could mark the wall with a piece of charcoal.
After confirming the line, we stretched the measuring tape firmly from the marked line to the ground as Awuche watched eagerly.
“Awuche, the measuring tape reads 7ft 4in,” I said.
With his inimitable smile, he replied: “Wow, so what does it mean?”
“Well, the tallest man alive is 8 feet 2.8 inches tall, one foot taller than you.”
I was referring to 40-year-old Sultan Kösen, who lives in Turkey and holds the Guinness World Record.
“I’m still growing tall. Who knows, maybe one day I can reach that height too,” Awuche said – not at all offended by the difference in the figure given to him by the hospital.
Ulimi unaokua (A growing tongue)
Ongezeko hili la urefu lilianza kuonekana alipokuwa na umri wa miaka 22 na akiishi katika mji mkuu, Accra.
Awuche alikuwa amehamia huko kujaribu bahati yake katika jiji, ambapo mmoja wa ndugu zake aliishi, baada ya kumaliza shule ya upili.
He was working at a butcher shop, saving money to study at a driving school.
But he woke up one morning confused: “I realized my tongue was so wide in my mouth that I couldn’t breathe [properly],” he recounts.
He visited the local pharmacy to get some medicine, however a few days later he noticed that every other part of his body had started to increase in size.
When family and friends from his village visited the city, they all commented on his growth rate and it was at this time that he realized that he was slowly turning into a giant.
He began to be on top of everyone – and sought medical help as the growth brought other problems.
She is left with an abnormally curved spine, one of the main symptoms of her condition, Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue.
It causes abnormally long legs.
More serious problems involve heart defects.
Doctors say he needs to have surgery on his brain to prevent it
But Ghana’s public health insurance cannot cover this, only covering basic treatment.
For each hospital visit he must still raise about $50 (£40).
His health problems finally forced him to return to his village six years ago and give up his dreams of becoming a driver.
“I was planning to go to driving school, but even when I put the seat back, I can’t hold the steering wheel… I can’t straighten my leg because my knee will hit the wheel.”
He now lives with his brother – and makes a living from a small business selling mobile phone scraps.
His height has also limited his social life.
“I used to play soccer like all other young people, I was an athlete but now I can’t even walk a short distance,” he explained.
Mtu Mashuhuri (A celebrity)
But Awuche does not let his problems get him down. She is full of warmth as her slim figure walks through the dusty village lanes – smiling as people call out to her.
He is a local celebrity
A group of old people sitting near the pavilion are talking to him, children are waving to him, some women are coming to hug him and share jokes with him.
Some people want to take selfies with him – even strangers come to ask if he is the giant they saw on social media.
“I’ll usually say: ‘Yes come closer’ – we stop and take a good picture,” Awuche says.
He is very grateful to his family for their support, saying that he does not know any of his other siblings, including his three brothers, who show any signs of having his condition.
“None of them are tall, I’m the tallest.”
He would like to get married and have children one day but he wants to focus his energy on solving his health first.
His first priority is to try to raise money for plastic surgery to deal with a serious skin complaint on one leg, the ankle caused by an overgrowth of the joint.
But looking at his bandaged fingers, Awuche refuses to be discouraged by his dire situation.
“That’s how God chose me, I’m fine. I have no problem with the way God created me.”