PET stories series from Harare, Zimbabwe continue. This second profile features Mr. Eliya Mwakapala. Eliya is a 48 year old amputee who lost his right leg in the 90s as a result of Elephantiasis (lymphatic filariasis). The parasitic infection caused excessive swelling of the leg, and the swelling finally caused his right leg to ‘rapture’ and this left doctors with no option but to amputate the leg, as condition was deemed ‘life threatening’.
He is a married and has four children-all boys, his wife is deaf and dumb. He told me he chose to marry someone with some kind of ‘disability’ because he felt he could relate better with someone who ‘understood’ his physical challenges. He also said ‘sign language’ is the mode of communication in the household and all four sons have ‘mastered’ sign language.
They reside in Zengeza 2 at House # 67 , Gandinga Road- on the outskirts of Harare. He works for the City of Harare (Sunshine City) as a Switchboard operator. His place of employment is located at Cleveland House- a Harare Municipality building in the CBD-(Central Business District). In his spare time- during evenings and weekends he doubles-up as a Refrigerator and Air conditioner ‘repairman’ / technician to supplement family income.
When I first met Eliya he was walking using crutches towards his place of employment. I followed him and caught up with him at the Main Gate entrance ( one of the pictures was taken right at the gate entrance). I started talking to him about PET carts and he told me he had seen someone riding one in the CBD but had no idea where the carts came from or how the individual(s) got them. After explaining to him about PET International, I then took a picture of him and jotted down his personal details / contact information and promised him some day he would get one of his own.
After speaking to Aleck from Life Ministries Zimbabwe, we both ‘agreed’ that Eliya would be a ‘prime’ candidate to receive a cart. Eliya did not participate in the PET distribution at Inner City United Methodist Church (June 19th), but he did receive his cart the following week. I ‘surprised’ him at work and delivered the already assembled cart during the lunch hour. He was so overwhelmed and his co-workers were surrounding him and congratulating him on his acquisition. He was so ecstatic he decided to ride his PET around Cleveland House, much to the cheer of co-workers.