Thursday, October 01, 2009

Rights for the Mentally Challenged and Moving On

Last week the Blantyre District Health Office moved to take off the streets of the city all mentally-challenged persons. What a sight to behold as Tv cameras captured scenes of mostly men being taken into 'custody' before being sent to Zombal Mental Hospital. Some of the 'captives' were shown lying on the floor, some making unintelligible sounds and yet others being shaved their unkempt hair.

I wondered if the rights of the patients were being respected by showing such footage on Malawi Television and in the case of Malawi Broadcasting Corporation screams and other sounds from the mentally-challenged individuals. Are we being told through such portrayals that those people do not have the right to privacy? As for me I found the scenes disturbing and disrespectful of the sick persons. Among those seized by the health authorities and policemen was a man I have known for years who calls me 'cousin' when he is feeling ok and can recognise me. Somehow I will miss his presence at Blantyre City Market.

After 10 years staying in one house in Nkolokosa township in Blantyre, I will have to move on next month end. The landlord and his sister came to give me notice to vacate the property saying their sibling was experiencing a severe financial down-turn, and has to take residence in the house. It is bitter-sweet experience! That is because it is the place I have called home for a decade and it is hard to imagine life elsewhere. But it is exciting as well to expect God's working to provide a bigger and better house which we definitely need as the family grows. Pray for me to find a house by November end preferably in the same township so that plans to host a home-cell do not get frustrated.


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