MATOKA CHIYANZO writes
PAUL Njovu misses his leg, which he lost following a road accident.
He regrets taking his leg for granted earlier because now he has to crawl to the toilet, a pit latrine for that matter.
To make matters worse, Paul lives in one of Lusaka’s shanty townships, Garden, with an estimated population of about 20,000.
His present circumstances were a result of a road traffic accident, which is now subject of a court case.
Unfortunately, this does not stop Paul’s suffering as a result of his changed status from an able-bodied person to a disabled, crude as that may sound.
He misses physical activities and feels useless when he fails carry out some activity that he previously did with easy.
For example, he can watch others play soccer and cheer them on.
Even with his artificial leg, Paul cannot play football because it is too big.
Helplessness now surrounds Paul, whose leg was amputated early this year following a hit-and-run road traffic accident near Emmasdale’s Devil Street.
The accident happened when he and his relatives were coming from a family meeting in Kabanana Township. Paul, 27, says that his life has been shattered and completely turned around as he cannot do some of the things he loved doing on his two legs.
He narrates how he has been struggling to use the pit latrine at his home in Garden Township on one leg.
Most pit latrines by nature require that one squats in order to be able to relieve oneself and that is after the hustle of squeezing through a narrow entry, often in full view of neighbours.
Njovu lamented how he keeps on getting empty promises to have a proper toilet installed at the rented house as he continues struggling to adapt to his new life.
He said that the artificial leg he was using was now over size as the measurements were done when his leg was swollen.
“I really need another artificial leg because this one, I have to put on at least three thick socks for it to fit. It pains when I walk long distances so mostly home when am not working,” he said.
Njovu also painfully recalled how much he loved visiting friends and family when he had both his legs.
He called on well-wishers to come his aid as he was not able to buy another artificial leg or have a proper toilet installed with his small salary.
A morning visit, on Christmas day to the modest 2-room house in Garden, found the youngman seated in the family living room with his prosthetic leg draped on the armrest.
Every day is a dark one for the teacher as he now spends most of his time in the sitting room and despite this, he is still the bread winner of the family.
The thought of continuing his life as a teacher, is what keeps his spirits high. Looking after his widowed mother and siblings was tough before he lost his leg and has now become harder.
Whereas he could find other means of earning a living, apart from his work at the community school, lack of mobility has made this impossible. He is still exercising and learning to use the artificial leg.
Without the artificial leg, Paul has to crawl or be lifted from the vehicle to the house and vice versa.