My name is Scader Louis.
I was born on 30th September 1981, in a family of 4 children and I being the only girl. My father, Ronald Louis Masanjala came from Msamati Village T/A Kalembo – Machinga and my mother, Nancy Mwalwanda came Lughali Village T/A Kyungu – Karonga respectively. They both died in 1993 and 1999 respectively.I grew up in Mangochi District where my father spent most of his working life.
I did my primary school education at St Augustine 3 in Mangochi. Later I went for my secondary school education at St Monica Girls Sec. School in the same district I was in form 2 when my mum died and things turned sour for me as there was no one to support my academic needs. Many thanks to the Sisters of Divine Providence, who through my teacher Mrs. Jean Ntaba offered to, take over the responsibility of paying for my school fees. I completed my secondary education in 2001 and passed my M.S.C.E with flying colors. I sat for the University Entrance Examinations in 2002 and was not successful. I always have wanted to become an accountant since I was a kid. I expressed my desire to study accounting to the sisters who refused to support me because I refused to join sisterhood. Since there was no one to support my tertiary education, I thought of getting a job so as to pay for my accounting course and also support my siblings whom then were staying with my uncle in Lilongwe.
I secured a job with World Vision Malawi on 1st June 2002, as a Customer Service Facilitator and was posted to a field office at Ching’anda in Makanjira 150 km from Mangochi Boma. My work in Ching’anda involved working a lot with people in the communities and I enjoyed interacting with them. However the distances from town made me have a huge desire to upgrade and get a better job. I then started making some savings from my monthly earnings to cater for my school fees in readiness for the 2004 Diploma in accounting MCA intake.
In 2003, I was selected to study Bachelors of Education Degree at Chancellor College through a parallel programme which did not materialize as it required me to quit my job, a decision I was not prepared to take since my job was my lifeline and also taking into consideration that I had no other support financially apart from my job earnings hence, that opportunity passed.
In January 2004, I enrolled for a Certificate in Accounting Course at Malawi College of Accountancy. I was travelling over 300km every weekend thus crossing Lake Malawi on a boat and connect thru Chipoka- Salima to attend classes in Blantyre. My colleagues used to tell me that I was doing the impossible but for me it was indeed hard but at the same time worthy pursuing and I was determined to get what I wanted and thus the highest accounting qualification.
On 25th April, 2004 just 3 months after starting school whilst on my way back to Makanjira via Salima, at Lirangwe trading centre the minibus I boarded lost control after a burst of the front tyre.3 people died on the spot and some sustained injuries. We were rushed to Mlambe hospital where upon gaining my consciousness, I realized that I had completely lost a feeling of my lower limbs. I was later referred to Queens Elizabeth Central Hospital where an assessment revealed that I had broken my Spinal Cord and half of the body was paralyzed (Paraplegic - T12).
My life completely changed in a split of a second, from a beautiful ambitious young lady to a hopeless, helpless creature. The worst part of it was that I did not have enough information regarding to what had happened to me and expectations if any. I cried till there was no tear left, slept till I couldn’t sleep no more, thought of ending it all but saw how helpless I was because I needed help from someone even to take my own life..For days my life was hell and I kept asking God numerous questions regarding my situation and why he allowed it to happen to me of all the people.
3 months after the injury, I gathered courage and asked my doctor to explain what had happened to me and if there was any chance of being on my feet again. My doctor told me that after the operation, Chances of walking again were not there. At that point I felt like I had stopped breathing because all along I thought my condition was temporal due to lack of information regarding Spinal Injury.
FAMILY & FRIENDS
I very much thank my family members and friends who were very supportive during this time and gave me the much needed encouragement spiritually, physically and physiologically My Organization did a very great job in making sure that I got all the necessary medical attention regardless of how much it costed.
My siblings looked up to me as a provider and it was extremely difficult for them and the whole family to see me in that helpless condition. Life went back to being a little child as I could literally do anything on my own. I relied on people to even ease myself. I lost my privacy and that made me more miserable considering that hours before I was doing everything for myself. I was so helpless that I needed help even to take my own life when I wanted to.
I must confess that I quickly started getting to accept my condition because of the love people kept showing me from far and wide. Much of being was changed because of the word of God which people kept sharing with me whilst in the hospital.
Slowly I began to realize that God was still on His throne and that he was very much aware of my situation and in His own time he will make all things beautiful for me. Realizing my helplessness made me depend and trust in God more than ever before knowing He was the only one who knew my tomorrow. I made tremendous progress in a few days through knowing who I was in Christ and that feeling significantly improved my physiotherapy response.
The accident happened when I was in a relationship with a guy and we had dated for close to 5 years. As far as I was concerned, he was my world and during this time I kept telling myself that I was going to fight the battle ahead of me because the feeling of having him made me stronger. Whilst I was at Kachere Rehabilitation Centre, 3 months after the accident, a colleague told me that the guy was dating another woman after I complained to her that he was no longer visiting me.
My world crushed and i lost all the little progress I had made that far. I could not find answers as to why he did that because 2 days before the accident we were together having fun and nothing made me think for once that all that was not real. It took some time for me to come to terms with what had happened and wishing he could come and tell me that all this was a lie but he never did. I later started collecting the broken pieces of my heart and assured myself that maybe that was how God wanted things to be and I needed to be much stronger and take in the two truths (disability and being dumped) without questioning knowing God was still in control.
BACK TO WORK
I was discharged in October 2004, and went to stay with an aunt at one of the townships in Blantyre. The organization asked me if I was interested to work as an accounts assistant in the regional office since I had already started pursuing an accounting course. I did not take time even to think about it, and gladly accepted and went back to work in November 2004.I had not fully recovered, but I insisted getting back to work just to keep busy and mix with people once again.
Adjustments were done to the office building so that it should be accessible. A vehicle was assigned to be picking me to and from the office. Working in a finance department brought back my accountant ambitions and I started thinking beyond my disability. I then thought of declaring my interest of going back to school to my immediate supervisor. He was very happy and management agreed to sponsor my education including a provision for transport so that I could easily to pursue my studies.
BACK TO SCHOOL
I enrolled for a Certificate in accounting course again in the January 2005 intake and started my weekend classes at PACT College.
The experience at the college during the first days was discouraging. It took time for the school management to make adjustments for me to access some of the classes. I quickly made friends and by the end of my first semester I was in an environment which made me feel at home. Little did I know that my going back to school would make other disabled persons think of the same. In the second semester, I was happy to see 3 disabled students at the college.
God kept giving me more strength each passing day, and I completed my Diploma course in June 2006. In July 2006, I started my professional level and in December 2010, I completed my course and qualified as an affiliate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and currently im finalizing processes of becoming a member of ACCA.
Currently i'm working as the Regional Financial Analyst for World Vision Malawi.
PEER GROUP TRAINING
In 2011, I was amongst a few selected individuals who were trained by Motivation African – an organization that helps people with mobility disabilities to become a Peer group trainer. This initiative changed my life so much as I started interacting with people who have challenges like mine and it opened my eyes to a wide range of issues that people with spinal injuries must take into consideration in looking after themselves lest risk early death. These issues include; bladder, bladder and skin care As a trainer, im involved in organizing and training my peers during camps which are funded by Motivation Africa and also conduct talk sessions at Kachere Rehabilitation Centre.
Im also a co founder of the Spinal Injuries Association of Malawi. Currently im serving as its Publicity Secretary in the interim committee which is steering the registration of the association.
Accepting my disability changed my life so much. Becoming a disabled woman has taught me quite a lot in life. I have learnt to value every human being knowing God has a purpose for everyone despite of what they are today. I also learnt to be humble and rely on God in everything trusting He can still change my being. I decided to make my life useful whilst waiting for that miracle. The biggest challenge has however been the fact that you have a disability and that you are a woman. This means you have to prove to the world that you can still do things. Nature has made human being to judge others by how they look and that makes it difficult for them to realize that persons with disabilities can effectively contribute to the development of this nation if given a chance.
I thank God that this far I have learnt to do most of the things independently.Im looking after a family of 9 and I its amazing seeing people grow up and that makes me stronger and realize that God’s ways are not ours.
WORD OF THANKS
My story is incomplete without expressing my heartfelt thanks to the following for making me who im today.
First and foremost to God Almighty for giving me the strength and bringing me closer to Him, to World Vision Malawi family for the love and support, in particular Mrs Marion Chindongo for being such a caring mum in times when I needed one, My in-law Dr Carol Kanyighe for taking good care of me and to my family and friends too numerous to mention. I see myself very tall whilst on my chair because of what I have achieved this far and plans ahead.