Mitole, Chiradzulo District … Action for Progress continues to crisscross the nation assisting those with mobility problems. At its heart there are many life-changing stories. Literally thousands of people have been helped, either directly or indirectly. School dropouts have gone back to school, those failing in business are now able to work with the help of a mobility unit. Others can go to the store, church services, community events, soccer games, or just visit friends or hold down a job. However, no matter how many are helped there are still others waiting. They are waiting with little hope, and far less promise.
An example of this is Samuel Waimwa, a resident of the Chiradzulo District of Malawi. While the central portion of the nation is primarily the Chewa tribe, 69.3% of the population of Chiradzulo district, are from the Lomwe Tribe, and another 18.6% are Yao. Chewas constitute only 3.2% of the population of the district. Unlike some African nations the people of Malawi cross tribal lines without conflict or disharmony. Action for Progress moves freely nationwide in its attempt to help the poorest of the poor, and those ignored or forgotten by others. This is the reason the AfP staff traveled to the southern district to locate a man named Samuel. A report had reached the AfP offices in Lilongwe that Mr. Waimwa was in difficult straits and needed immediate help.
Upon arrival Mr. Waimwa reported at the age of 59 (he is now 69), his legs began to weaken. Even though it was his job to support his family, through the small business venture he owned, his issues with mobility became more and more of a problem. Pain developed and each day grew more intense. Every effort, within the financial constraints of his family, were tried and failed. Nothing worked. Day by day, week by week, the cost of medical care was draining their cash. There seemed to be nothing that could help them. At that same time his business started to decline. The pain continued to grow and finally he was unable to walk at all. For a time, the family searched for some type of mobility assistance, but their efforts were always in vain.
Then, after a 10-year search that had proven fruitless, promises that were made only to be broken, there came a quiet knock at his door. It was the team from AfP. It seems a local preacher had related Samuel’s story to these folks in the capital. They promised they would help, buy you know, a lot of people make promises. The difference this time was the fact this was a promise kept.
Samuel could not wait to feel the experience of moving about on the mobility unit, and a big smile indicated this unit was just the right fit. Its promise seemed bigger than life. Samuel started telling those who gathered how great a blessing this had proven to be.
“Thank God for this gift,” he said. “Now I can visit my friends and family, go to church services, shop in the market, and attend village community meetings.”
His wife, too, had some thoughts of her own, “I will now have the space to do other household chores,” she said. “I can care for the children, attend the community meetings, and travel around the area without being saddled with a husband who could not walk. For this reason, he had started staying at home.” She then summed it up with this, “Life for a person with mobility challenges, and no mobility aids, that life can only be compared to life in a prison.”