Sometimes life happens. At the age of 30, back in 1999, while driving to Lilongwe with her father, Florence Mapemba was involved in an accident that led to loss of one leg on the spot.
She sustained serious injuries on the other. She was taken to Kamuzu Central Hospital (KCH) where it was also amputated.
The impact of the accident was enormous and horrible, she says and the biggest of all was the issue of mobility.
“I can only walk with the aid of artificial limbs and when I am at home, I use a wheelchair. Nevertheless, I have acknowledged and accepted the situation. However, I experienced some denial because of the traumatic experience I went through.
“And at some point, I must confess, that I sinned before God as I became depressed and asked myself why I did not die on the spot. But, later, I realised that God does not make mistakes and has His own plans for my life, therefore, can neither be blamed or despised,” she says.
In the fullness of time, Mapemba came to terms with her condition and started living positively again, thanks to the people that surrounded her.
“I give thanks to my family members, my church priests, medical counsellors and friends for their support and encouragement. In particular, Kamuzu Academy provides me with all the necessary support to make my life worthwhile and comfortable.
“Above all, I am constantly comforted by the word of God as it is written in Matthew 11:28-29: ‘Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest …” she adds.
Originally from Kapinya Village, Traditional Authority Wimbe in Kasungu, Mapemba is a single woman.
Her advice to women amputees is that they have the right to be the person they want to be.
“The only person who can take that right away from you, is you. It is up to you to think about yourselves and your lives in a positive way to ensure a productive future,” she adds.
Women Institute on Leadership and Disability (Wild) Malawi 2016 representative, Scader Louis is on record to have said that Malawi needs to realise that women with disabilities are not objects of pity or charity, but rather leaders and actors in their own right who must be given the opportunity and support to decide their own future.