Special Feature | Zambia: How My Life Has Changed
It is a scenario difficult for many to fathom; a foot wound inflicted at the age of four that never healed, treatment prohibiting the ability to put weight on the heel, years of severe pain, lack of medical assistance, and no shoe to fit the permanently deformed foot.
This is the story of Jonathan Nyambe, a bright young man actively involved in the choir at Ngimbu Church, an outstation of Sancta Maria Mission, roughly 12 kms from Lukulu, Zambia.
The Loreto Sisters have been in Zambia for the last 21 years. The Loreto Sisters support the local community in Lukulu through spiritual ministries, education, health and pastoral work. These programs form the basis of the Integrated Health Care Support Program (IHCSP) which commenced in 1998. Sister Pat Hanvey, an Irish Loreto Sister and Coordinator of the program, has been living and working in Zambia for twelve years.
Lukulu’s dispersed and impoverished rural-based population, together with an under-resourced Ministry of Health, has created an ongoing need to provide mobile health and pastoral care. MWIA has funded the running costs of Sr Pat’s vehicle since 2017, enabling her to travel and serve the most vulnerable in remote areas.
Jonathan Nyambe is among many people whose lives have been touched by the aid of Sr Pat. Having met Jonathon on several occasions at the Ngimbu Church, she had noticed he had a significant limp and twisted foot.
He walked with great difficulty and wore ‘tropicals’ or thongs as no shoe could fit his deformed foot.
Jonathan explained that he had lived like this since he was four. As a little boy he had developed a wound on his foot that wouldn’t heal. He was treated with traditional African medicine for a long time which subsequently prohibited his ability to put weight on his heel, causing severe pain and resulting in his foot becoming permanently deformed.
Jonathan had attempted to receive medical assistance from the local hospital; however, they did not have the expertise or resources to assist. Sr Pat arranged for Jonathan to be transported in the vehicle available to take patients to Chitokoloki and he was assessed by an orthopedic surgeon. The surgeon believed it was possible to help him.
With great joy and anticipation Jonathan underwent a foot operation and was discharged walking properly and with little discomfort. Upon his returned to Lukulu he was able to purchase and wear his first ever pair of shoes at 28 years old!
It is something very special – to see the joy which Jonathan expresses at being able to wear shoes and walk normally after so many years of being deprived of this, which so many of us take for granted”.
– Loreto Sister Pat Hanvey IBVM
Jonathan’s life has improved dramatically as a result of the transport that enabled him to go to Chitokoloki Mission Hospital for specialist treatment. He is overjoyed with the improvement to his foot, so much so, he presented Sr Pat with a village chicken he caught specially as a token of his gratitude and appreciation.