By Andrew Mkonda:
He had a vision to become a soldier and serve the nation one day.
But that dream may never realise following an illness he suffered at the age of four.
Moffat Mwakitalima was born on April 2 1988 in the family of the Mwakitalimas of Group Village Head Mweneyumba, Paramount Chief Kyungu, in Karonga District.
The parents say Moffat was born like any other normal person and, as expected, brought joy into the family.
But, at the age of four, Moffat suddenly started convulsions which brought shock to the parents and other relatives.
“There was no any sign that my son was having any illness. We just realised that he had started convulsions and immediately rushed him to the hospital but nothing changed. We then decided to take him to traditional doctors in Tanzania, to no avail,” says Wayiness Nanthakomwa, Moffat’s mother.
SHe adds: “When we came back from Tanzania, we went to a certain prophet who promised healing through prayers after paying K30,000. But nothing happened.”
Nanthakomwa says her son was bright in class and wanted to become a Malawi Defence Force (MDF) soldier one day.
But he stopped going to school while in Standard Five because some part of his body became paralysed.
“It came as a shock to us. My son can no longer stand, walk or speak. We talk to him through gestures. He can hear us but cannot talk to us. We don’t really know the cause of this,” she says.
Nanthakomwa further says Moffat’s condition has affected the family’s socio-economic activities.
“We can hardly leave home for some activities elsewhere because we cannot leave him alone. It is our duty to move him from one place to another even when he wants to answer the call of nature,” she says dolefully.
Nanthakomwa, 69, and her husband, 71, make mats for a living and earn K1,000 per day from sales of the same. They live in a dilapidated grass-thatched house.
She pleads to well wishers to assist the family with a wheelchair to ease mobility challenges of their 31-year-old paralysed son.
“Imagine, at our age, we have to pick him from one place to another on daily basis. It is not easy,” Nanthakomwa says.
“We even fail to go to church because we cannot leave him alone here. We will be happy if well-wishers assist us with a wheelchair to ease his mobility challenges,” she adds.
Karonga District Medical Officer, Lindani Chirwa, says, once some parts of the human body have started malfunctioning, the only remedy is to go for physiotherapy or provide the patient with a wheelchair.
“Paralysis is very dangerous because, for a person to start paralysis, it means the spinal cord, a set of nerves inside the spine that connect the brain to the nerves in the body, has been affected. It is very difficult for one to be healed completely,” Chirwa says.
He adds that people get paralysed due to road accidents and diseases such as sickle cell anaemia especially when the spinal cord has been affected.
A National Registration Bureau officer, Style Zgambo, is the one who alerted this reporter about the Mwakitalima family’s predicament.
“This family came late for national ID registration and after interrogating them, they told me about their son’s condition,” he said.
Feeling concerned, Zgambo later decided to visit the family.
“I am very concerned about the situation of the family. The man cannot do anything on his own. Food is also a big challenge for this elderly couple,” he said.—Mana