It is decline of evening, the silence is deafening, the bird chirps dying down. Whilst the village kids frolic, deeply engrossed in their play time. Without a shadow of a doubt, this Village provides the best and widest view of that famous Mbale landmark-mountain Wanale.
It is said a traveler without observation is like a bird without wings. Was i about to be that bird? No, so i kept moving, whilst at the same time, my eyes cast about keenly observing. As i traverse further through Mango Village, Namalogo Parish, Bumboi, Mbale, my eyes bask in a glow, as they feast on lots of interesting sights and sounds. The pity however that later stares me In the face when I come across frail, disheveled and diseased 27 year old Waniaye Yassin threatens to ruin my hitherto placid and enjoyable sojourn. On the face of It, Waniaye is awkwardly emaciated. He is clearly out of sorts with a sickness that is eating away both his legs. Saddled with this depreciating Illness, one would assume, Waniaye Is out of humor and despondent. On seeing him, I thought he was a Kill joy.
Waniaye however Is a far cry from that and hardly fits that stereotype of a very sick person.
“To me, despondency with my kind of condition and circumstances, Is only Ingratitude, the hope I have now will help me overcome my situation”, Waniaye asserts The Illness has not locked away Waniaye’s smile, nor has It deprived him of his cheerfulness, buoyancy, warm-heartedness and courtesy.
It Is all evident as Waniaye welcomes me with a crack of a smile, I can only describe as hale and hearty. What Is apparent Is Waniaye’s frailty and illness has not dampened his spirits. The physical fatigue that however has come with his illness Is discernible. As It seems, his body has expended a great deal of energy fighting the Illness.
Abdullah Makhafu, an elder in the village deplores Waniaye condition. “Waniaye has become a shadow of what he used to be. the fact that his parents are not so well off, also makes his situation worse. he however hasn’t lost his allure, which endeared him to many in the village”, Makhafu notes
Waniaye was a sturdy guy. he loved playing football and was a star on the Village team. the Illness has however unfortunately severely run him down so bad. his condition is really pathetic. he can’t even walk now”, Mohammed Wakhatenge, a Village friend says
Both of Waniaye’s legs from the knees to his feet look gravely Infected with diseased patches of rotting skin.
Mabogi Hakim, a venerable elder In the village says a pitiful condition like Waniaye’s may inevitably fuel rumors of a cast spell. “In this part of the country where superstition Is rife, a condition’s like Waniaye’s will get people talking and poisoning other’s ears. Already I have caught wind of rumors spreading that his condition was caused by witchcraft. that of course is not true”, Mabogi states.
Waniaye Is of course cognizant of that fact, “I know when friends and relatives look at my diseased legs; they assume a spell has been cast on me. their words won’t break my bones however. It is a cancerous condition that sure looks like It will destroy both my legs. I cannot walk on my own. these lesions on my legs get worse every day and with the constant swelling comes excruciating pain. I need financial help to get treatment”, Waniaye explains.
Waniaye says his Illness started manifesting at the threshold of 2009, soon after his A “levels.
“My parents took me to Mbale Hospital at first. I was put on treatment for 2 months. whilst there, my condition didn’t change much despite the treatment, I was getting. at first I was in the dark about this condition, but when the doctors refered us to Mulago, It became clearer. A biopsy was done and I was diagnosed with a skin cancer called Kaposi Sarcoma”, discloses Waniaye
I have been on chemotherapy since then. on several occasions however, I have missed my doses due to financial constraints.
In October last year, my condition deteriorated severely, after I missed my dosage 3 times. my parents were hard up, Waniaye Reveals.
Missing a dose, spells restarting the dosage again. “Whenever I go for an injection, I have to part with ugx 300,000 on each injection and most times, my parents are financially constrained. the six times, I have been to Mulago, I have not been In a position to complete my treatment.
Every time, I don’t complete my treatment, I feel like a damper has been placed on me but It Is the reality of my situation and there is not much I can do”, Waniaye says plaintively
Amina Shuyo, Yassin’s Mother casts her mind back, “Since January 2010, Waniaye has not been able to move on his own. my son’s dreams have been shattered. he had just finished his senior six and was planning to join university when this Illness started rearing its ugly head.
We didn’t see any signs of an illness brewing until he started developing the painful swellings on his right leg. he now seems more like a cast away, a paraplegic, his legs have been in a long drawn out painful rut, decaying away, despite the treatment and medication he has been receiving”, Shuyo says
“What began as an itchy small dark mole under his right foot has degenerated since. at first we thought he had a problem with his right foot bone. his right foot starting swelling and developing a wound under It. The infection later spread to his left leg too”. Shuyo discloses
Amina Shuyo says finances have been the family’s major drawback.
“his treatment has come at a high cost. we have not been able to afford some of the chemotherapy drugs and this has often caused a relapse in his condition. transport and the fact that we also have to support his other brothers and sisters have also been a major challenge”, Shuyo asserts
Doctor Partha Mukhopadhyay, Consultant Clinical Oncologist at Nakasero Hospital, says Kaposi Sarcoma Is the most frequently diagnosed cancer In several African Countries. Uganda has one of the highest concentrations of Infectious related cancers Including Kaposi Sarcoma, which Waniaye seems to be suffering from.
“Each year, Infection related cancers kill roughly 1.5 million people worldwide. the most common symptoms of Kaposi Sarcoma are the appearance of red or purple patches on the skin. The patches then grow Into lumps, also known as nodules. Kaposi Sarcoma can also lead to tumors that appear as lesions on the skin, In the mouth and throat”, Mukhopadhyay explains
Doctor Mukhopadhyay emphasizes that a number of treatments can be relied on to treat Kaposi Sarcoma depending on how fast or slow the condition spreads.
“The early detection and treatment of any type of cancer can greatly Increase one’s chances of survival. Surgery can be applied to remove small tumors caused by Kaposi sarcoma. Chemotherapy or radiotherapy too can be utilized to kill cancerous cells.
With proper treatment, Kaposi sarcoma can be controlled, though there are chances, It could re-occur especially, If a patient misses treatment. deaths resulting from It however are rare”, Mukhopadhyay Stresses.
According to a report published by researchers on the Makerere University Infectious diseases Institute website, Kaposi sarcoma Is the most common cancer In Uganda.
The researchers say Kaposi sarcoma accounts for six out of every ten cancer diagnoses made at the Uganda cancer Institute.
I have more than five years’ working experience in the media industry.
I wield a skilful pen as a writer and Iam presently one of the most proficient features writers at the "Features Desk" of the “New Vision”- Uganda’s leading premier Newspaper.
At the “New Vision”, I have given a good account of myself as a features writer and that has shown in my well thought out and deeply researched human interest stories, which have been published on topics such as maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancies, climate change, the importance of cultural customs, rising sexual harassment in Uganda’s health sector; amongst other topics.
Several of my standout feature stories have been published in the "Big Read" section of the New Vision.
For good measure, I also write for my personal blog called MasaabaChronicles.com.
Before I joined the New Vision, I had worked a broadcast Journalist with Signal FM radio in Mbale, Eastern Uganda.
My weekly show packed a punch and was very popular with the youth demographic in Eastern Uganda.
It was an informative and educative programme that essentially encouraged the youth to embrace initiatives that bring a value to their lives.
I am also into worthy causes.
Last year, I was awarded a medal and certificate for my participation in the Journey of Hope marathon walk; a walk whose set objective was to reverse the flow of child trafficking and unsafe migration from Karamoja-in the North-East of Uganda.
The 18 day- 467 walk began in Kampala-Uganda’s capital city and ended in Napak-Karamoja.
Iam also into marathon running for worthy causes.
For the last two years, I have excelled in the MTN Marathon.
I was the best runner from the New Vision and have gotten medals for my efforts.
My professional goal is to be able to open new horizons for myself as a multi media Journalist and to spread my wings as a writer; beyond my current environment.
I want to be able to bring my writing skills to bear with other platforms.
I believe writing further beyond my current environment will sharpen my creative writing skills for the better.
Playing basketball-Several medals and Certificates recieved for playing the game
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