Joy as teenage girl walks for the first time

The Herald

Ivan Zhakata

Features Correspondent

FOR the past 15 years, life seemed to be not fair for 15-year-old Blessing Caroline Ncube from Musuna Village in Hwange, as she was born without a lower limb of her right leg and without both her arms.

Blessing would hoop from one place to the other as she could not hold a stick or clutch due to her disability.

Some of the children in her community accepted her as she was, but others mocked her, resulting in her feeling neglected in her society.

Blessing used to cry most of the time, but got consolation and comfort from her mother Ms Future Ncube who told her that she was not different from any other child.

However, Lady Luck smiled on her late last year when she recited a poem during a ground breaking ceremony of Southern African Development Initiators (SADI) at Musuna village where she comes from.

The SADI officials were charmed by her intelligence and touched by her condition and how other children cheered her as she hooped back to the crowd.

SADI officials then came up with a plan and approached Blessing’s mother offering to secure an artificial leg and hands so that she could be like any other child. 

Blessing and her mother came to Harare early this week and she had a surgery at Precise Rehab Clinic where she had an artificial leg fixed.

After the surgery, Blessing can now walk, although she is still facing some difficulties.

Tears of joy filled her and her mother’s eyes as she walked to hug her mother without hooping.

She narrated her ordeal and how society used to view her as an outcast who could not do anything on her own.

“I was born without a leg below the knee lower limb and I did not have hands,” Blessing said. “Some of the children in my community did not see me as a normal person as I had to hoop every day. 

“They mocked me as I could not walk or hold anything. I was having challenges in fetching water because I could not touch anything. I used to cry most of the time. 

“One day, I went to recite a poem at a function held by Southern African Development Initiators (SADI) and after my presentation they came to me and said they wanted to help me. They took me to Harare where I was given a leg and some arms. 

“I am happy that I am walking for the first time in my life though I am still learning to walk upright.”

Blessing said she now feels like any other child and expressed her gratitude to SADI for helping her.

Her mother could not hide her tears and thanked SADI for facilitating her daughter’s artificial leg and hands.

“Some people in the community accepted me and my child, but others mocked me,” said Ms Ncube. 

“This affected Blessing to the extent that she cried most of the time. To us, it was God’s way and there was nothing we could do to change her situation, but rather accept it and move on.” 

SADI secretary-general Mr Blessing Jeke said it was part of their work policies to identify and help children with disabilities and vulnerable families.

“We had a ground breaking ceremony in Musuna, Hwange, and that is when we met this girl,” he said. “We had the former President of Malawi Mrs Joyce Banda and she was touched by the girl’s condition as much as we were touched too. 

“We then came up with a way to make the girl walk because she was hooping as she could not hold anything in her hands. So, we took Blessing and her mother to Harare where she had a surgery for an artificial leg. “We are also looking forward to facilitating artificial hands. This is part of our programmes that we are doing as SADI. We are happy that the surgery has been successful and we will be driving back to Musuna with them.” 

The doctors who did the surgery, Mr Noordeen Cassim of Cassims Prosthetics and Dr Casper Marowa, an occupational therapist from Precise Rehab Clinic, said they were happy to be chosen to treat Blessing.

They also narrated the process she went through and how the new artificial leg and hands will help her improve her lifestyle.

“The artificial leg we have put on her is below the knee lower limb, some might call it a leg, but anatomically it is a below knee lower limb,” the doctors said.

“It is something that we fabricate to the patient. 

“The goal is trying to make her walk and improve her lifestyle. With this leg, she will no longer have to rely on hooping as it will give her body the freedom to walk, but it might take a little bit of time. 

“When both her upper limb and lower limb are fitted she will be a little bit more flexible. She is a very lovely person and adapts so easily, so we are glad to give her the limb so that she can walk on two feet.”

The Herald