By LINDA NYONDO
KELVIN Chabushiku will never forget one Monday morning in January 2005, when he failed to walk to school just a few meters away from his home. He had gained too much weight that his legs could not carry him.
His life changed from that day, as he could no longer do anything for himself -Â he had to be bathed, fed and needed someone to take him to the toilet.
Despite making it to grade ten, Kelvin discontinued his education due to his condition because there was no one to take him to school.
Kelvin was born a healthy bouncy baby boy from Mr and Mrs Chabushiku of Mansa in 1993 and he led a normal happy life like any other child.
Life however changed drastically at the age of 12 when he started gaining weight at a very fast rate and his nails started rooting.
His maternal grandmother, Queen Kabamba took him to a traditional doctor who administered traditional medicine, but his condition worsened.
Upon realising that the condition was getting worse, Kelvinâ€™s Grandmother decided to take him to Mansa General Hospital where he was observed for some time.
The Doctors at Mansa General Hospital suspected Kelvin had a heart condition, hence their decision to have him observed for some time.
His grandmother could not wait any longer and decided to take him to Lubwe Mission Hospital, but they did not find anything wrong with him.
In 2007, Kelvin was struck by measles and was taken to Mansa Hospital where he was treated and cured.
Though he was cured of measles Kelvinâ€™s obesity problem did not go away as his nails continued rooting and the lad was becoming fatter by the day.
His condition forced him to stay away from people due to the stigma he faced.
â€œIt has been a very painful experience, people would stop to stare at me, while kids would openly express shock and laugh at me,â€™â€™ Kelvin said.
Some people thought I was bewitched, while others thought that I was a bad omen.
The stigma was extended to my immediate family members who lost friends because some people did not want to associate with them.
His situation got the attention of the wife of Bagweulu member of Parliament Chifita Matafwali, Anna who decided to visit him.
â€œ I heard about Kelvinâ€™s condition when my husband and I came to visit his electorates in Samfya, I told my husband about it and that I wanted to visit him, my husband was supportive of the idea,â€™â€™ Anna Matafwali said.
She decided to take him to the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka for specialist treatment. With the help of the Minister of Community Development, Mother and Child Health, Emmerine Kabanshi and the district commissioner of Samfya Samuel Chitonge, Mrs Matafwali managed to transport Kelvin and his grandmother to Lusaka.
It was at UTH that doctors diagnosed Kelvin with diabetes and high blood pressure. He spent a month and some days in the hospital.
His weight has reduced from 105Kgs to74Kgs and he was advised to avoid certain foods and only eat foods like brown bread, brown sugar and roller maize meal.
But Kelvinâ€™s concern is that most of the food he was told to eat is not found in Samfya, as a result his meals are restricted to nshima with vegetables and fish.
Kelvin does not have anyone to help him meet the required nutrition. His mother died in 2011 and he does not know the whereabouts of his father – Victor Chabushiku.
His grandmother, Queen Kabamba said Kelvinâ€™s condition had improved when he was at UTH but that he is slowly gaining weight again.
â€œWe are worried about food, we do not have resources and most of the food he was told to eat is not found in Samfya,â€™â€™ Mrs Kabamba said.
The grandmother is also having problems with Kelvin because part of treatment is for him to walk around but he (Kelvin) does not want to walk.
Mrs Kabamba said though she understands that due to his overweight, his thighs are bruised, she will try hard to help him take the walks.
And although he dropped out of school in 2012, despite making it to grade 10, Kelvin has not given up on his dream of becoming a doctor.
The 21-year-old is determined to follow the doctorâ€™s advice, so he can lead a normal life again.
He promised the author to take walks but he is appealing to well-wishers to help him with the required food for him to get better.
Kelvin a committed Adventist has received emotional support from his churchmates who visit him from time to time.
He is looking forward to a time when he will be able to lead a normal life again and be of help to those in need.
By LINDA NYONDO