Blind, but unhindered: He taught himself how to dig
Posted Wednesday, March 20 2013 at 00:00
When he lost sight, he lost almost everything including his wife, job and means of livelihood but not the determination to make the best out of a bad situation. Johnson Mayamba got him to tell his story.
My name is Samuel Sajjabi. I am 49 years old and stay at Naama in Mukono District. I have been blind for 27 years. Before becoming blind, I was a very hardworking person who never took chances once given work to do; I still have that same spirit in my day-to-day life. My blindness cannot deter me from working because I have to survive on my own without inconveniencing people.
I am the first born in the family of 13 children though only three are still living. Being a first born, I had to do everything to show a good example of hard work to my siblings. I began working while I was still at school as a turn boy before becoming a truck driver who used to transport goods within East Africa.
This however changed when I lost my sight in 1985. The eyes started by itching me for close to four years. One day, they started swelling which eventually resulted into the situation I am in.
I was forced to leave my job as I could no longer see well. Since then I have never got another job for myself. It is now beyond 20 years now. Not only did I lose my sight but I also lost my wife to another man.
She abandoned me with three children we had together. She started by leaving me alone in the house and later, she decided to settle with my neighbour.
Up to now, I have never found out why she left but I suspect it is because of my state because she left when I had just got blind.
Yet I needed her to be around to look after me. I started going hungry because I could not do much by myself. I moved to different hospitals but I did not get any help.
I gave it all up and decided to just stay the way I am. I was being taken care of by my daughter. It reached a time and realised it was too much for her. I then decided to do some of the things for myself.
Step by step
I started with getting out of the house and coming back alone. After a month when I realised I could actually move and come back without any help. From that time, I told my daughter not to stress herself as I could then manage to do some tasks for myself.
After about a year, I started training myself by hoeing the compound near the house. When I finally got used to handling the hoe, I decided to go beyond cleaning my compound to eventually working on my garden. I realised that I could continue to farm despite my handicap.
The garden is just one acre of land, which I purchased way back when my sight was still working well. I have been able to utilise it effectively to bring food on my plate. I have a banana plantation, which l intercrop with beans and maize. These crops are what I use to supplement on the matooke.
On my own
Though l am unable to identify which banana is ready for harvest and which one is not yet ready, I can still take care of himself. This, however, has come along with other challenges though. On many occasions, even the people who would have helped me in bettering my life end up making it miserable.
Some go to the garden and steal the crops when they are ready to harvest. Because of that, I have not been able to reap big from it. May be I would sell these to get earn an income.
Others have even gone ahead to say that I just pretend to evade taxes, which is not true. I also have a challenge losing my way once in a while returning home on some days.
I am sometimes helped by sympathisers to reach to my destination. My wife is nowhere to be seen. I gave up on her. My children are also grown up. So, I have to survive on my own.