Amputation that destroyed family’s dreams

In July 26, 1993, around 8am, Benson Chiuzenze was walking to the fields with his younger brother when he stepped on a landmine.

“I was 20 years old at that time,” he recalled last week.

Just like any of the landmine victims in the Mukumbura area, he was first taken to Mt Darwin Hospital where the gravity of the injury saw him ending up at Harare Hospital.

“A few days after admission, the doctor started talking of amputation and initially I refused. You know how it is about having a part of you removed, I was very conservative about the whole idea.”

But as the wound around the calf of his right leg worsened, Benson gradually saw the reasoning behind the doctor’s suggestion and on August 10, he was to agree to the amputation.

After the amputation in August, he was to spend the next months — till November, in rehabilitation at Mt Darwin Hospital.

“I met and fell in love with him before he got injured and I just figured that I could not stop loving him because he had lost his leg,” chipped in the wife, Rurai. “We started dating in 1992 and he got injured in 1993. We married in 1994.”

The couple has since been blessed with four children — two girls and two boys.

“The worst victims of this landmine injury have been my children. They have not been able to go through school because I cannot fully fend for them.

“The only one who is in school is doing Grade Six and I only paid fees for him once, when he started Grade One. The other two have since dropped out of school.”

The biggest challenge with a prosthetic, he says, is that it cannot be used in mud. “Or where there is constant contact with water.

“But if you look at life here in the rural areas, how can you avoid getting into contact with water? In the fields it is mud all over, in the garden it is water throughout. The life of the leg is shortened if exposed to these conditions.”

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