By Angela C. Pakata, Office Assistant, Nyimba AP. Edited by Tisa Banda, Communications and Donor Liaison Officer
Being a husband and father is a big responsibility for any man, but it becomes added responsibility and more like a burden if he has to take care of his physically challenged wife and son.
This is the case for 53-year-old Davison Phiri of Edward Village of Nyimba in Zambia’s Eastern Province.
Davison is a father of three. He is a small-scale farmer and a small-scale entrepreneur. He owns a small grocery store locally known as Nthemba. In addition, he is a charcoal burner. He not only takes care of his 47-year-old wife, Gertrude but his 25-year-old son, Edward.
He also takes care of his old mother and three nieces whose mother died, and their father abandoned them to marry three other wives. His two daughters, Adessi, who is 28, and Memory, aged 24, are married and live in the same village with their own families.
Davison and Gertrude lived a joyous life in the first five years of their marriage until 1997, when their son and second child, Edward, was born. Baby Edward was born healthy, but things changed when baby Edward fell ill in the middle of the night, right in the fields where they had camped during the farming season. Edward and his older sister, Adessi, were laid on a reed mat spread separately from their parents. But the couple was left confused when they heard a child crying from a distance of about ten metres from their shelter. Gertrude went to check where the two children were lying, and Davison rushed outside to check on the crying baby. Sadly, it was baby Edward.
The couple was immersed in fear and shock as they could not understand how the child found himself outside the shelter. In the morning, they returned to the village and explained their experience at the fields to the village people. They equally failed to understand and concluded that there was some witchcraft involved.
Since that time, Edward has lived a miserable life. His body could not function as normally as before. He was crawling, but he stopped after a prolonged illness. His lower limbs got paralyzed, and his growth was disturbed. He has challenges with his speech and takes time to respond when talked to. His father does everything for him.
I take him everywhere he wants to go. I have to carry him because he is grown now. He is too heavy to be carried by anyone in the family but me. He does not do any work.
Davison faced another challenge in 2017 as he was coming from Nyimba town with his wife to buy new stock for their shop when he saw his wife fall to the ground and could not speak.
“It was very strange for me, and I got confused, especially after pulling through all my challenges with my son. With the help of friends around, we rushed my wife to Nyimba General Hospital, where she was diagnosed with a stroke. She had stopped talking, lost feelings of touch and her memory too. We spent all the money we had invested in our shop and the money realized after selling charcoal on transporting my wife to physiotherapy at Nyimba General Hospital. I could not work properly because I spent most of the time nursing my wife and son,” lamented Davison.
Currently, Davison does all the fieldwork alone and carries his wife and son on a bicycle so that they can sit while he is working, and he can easily cook for them when it’s time to eat so that he does not stop working on going home and cooking for them then come back to continue working in the field. His two daughters, married in the same village, also help their mother with house chores every day.
During the commemoration of International day of Disability, David realized there is still hope to help his wife and son through World Vision donating GIK wheelchairs. He brought them to fetch wheelchairs, and they were assisted with mobility devices to ease his task of carrying them.
He feels victorious that he has managed to lobby for mobility devices for his beloved wife and son. He thanked World Vision for donating the wheelchairs and said they would empower his family as the two can now carry themselves where they want to go.
“My wife will also be able to exercise as she drives herself because the wheelchair needs some strength to move, and this will reduce our trips to physiotherapy at the hospital. May God bless World Vision for this life changing gift,
Other recipients of wheelchairs include Ruth, a 12-year-old girl who has paralyzed legs and a weak palm. Receiving a wheelchair was a great relief to her father, who used to take her to school on his back. 22-year-old Faidesi, who cannot straighten her back; 22-year-old Matolase, who is in Grade 5 and wants to be a teacher in the future; and Innocent from Benny village, a registered child under the World Vision sponsorship program. He was born with disabilities and lives with his mother. He used to go to school but could not continue because his mother could not carry him on her back as grows older. She appreciated the wheelchair because Innocent could now move to play and interact with friends.
Twenty-three wheelchairs were distributed in total, much to the delight of the recipients.