The Plight of Esther Masayiti
How would you describe your feelings when everything that you can do to overcome an obstacle is still not enough? Depression, despondency, despair? Perhaps all three?
That has been the question and plight of Esther Masayiti from Mitundu, a village just a short distance from Malawi’s capital city of Lilongwe. It is not that she does not have friends. She is surrounded by friends who are always willing to help this 56-year-old widow. Unfortunately, everything that can be done by poor villagers is not enough. This is especially true when the need involves the transportation of a disabled adult. For those who cannot walk, the cost of a mobility device is simply too expensive. With a per capita income of a little over $300 per year, most Malawians will never be able to afford such a luxury.
Esther was born in 1963 and has always lived on the outskirts of the capital city of Lilongwe. At a very young age, she fell ill, was hospitalized, and then diagnosed with polio. The doctors reported there was little they could do, and the result of her disease was the permanent loss of the ability to use her legs. Esther has spent 50 years crawling on the ground! She could not attend school as the school was too far for her to be carried and crawling that distance was simply not possible. To make her situation even more dire, she lost both parents early in her life. Her life seemed to be literally and figuratively a mountain too high to climb.
Then came that the day when she received life-changing news. Esther recalls, “On Friday I received communication that I should come to this place to receive a mobility unit from Action for Progress. I prayed to God not to allow this day to be like all of those when I waited in vain for some other organization who had called us, but for whom we waited 8 hours while no one showed up to help us. They gave some excuse, like ‘the car broke down’. But today, God has answered my prayer as I did not even wait for two hours when I received this unit from Action for Progress.”
Esther lives with her granddaughter, who has sacrificially cared for many of her daily needs. However, there are limits to what can be done for an adult that can’t be transported beyond a few feet from their hut. In spite of her problems, Esther has run a small business where she sells tomatoes to help generate funds to support her family. In the past, she had to hire a bicycle to transport her to and from the small business location. The new mobility unit allows her to tend to the business without this expense and has given her freedom and dignity – things that she has been without since childhood.
A devoted Christian, Esther is also thankful to God for the new Bible she received with her mobility unit. With the Bible in hand and her mobility unit ready to use, she can now attend church services and also share the good news about Christ. In summing up her experience she finished the conversation with John 3:16. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”