July 2004

1. Train Accident

The following is the basic content of an e-mail received from Monze on Saturday 10th July.

Owen Shapenga, aged 21, from Choma, which is 100 kilometres away from Monze, lost both legs and arms three days ago when he was rushing to get on the Livingstone bound train at Monze railway station.

When the train stopped at Monze railway station he got out to buy food from a shop by the station. This is the normal trend for people travelling on the train, because it takes so long to get to the destination and passengers have to buy food along the way.

Since there were so many people buying he was served so late that the stop time has elapsed. When the train was pulling out Owen decided to run towards the it. When he was by the train door he extended his right hand to get hold of the door bar.

Unfortunately the train increased speed. He missed a step and fell off the pavement into the railway with his legs and arms on the line. His arms and legs were crushed to pieces immediately. He was rushed to the hospital by the railway systems personnel where his legs and arms were amputated leaving him with limbs only.

This morning I got an urgent call from the local health authorities that I visit Owen. His situation is so sad and I really sympathised with him.

I quickly decided to search myself and thanked God for keeping me whole when certain things like this could happen to others. Then I realised I am being spared for a purpose - that is to help. I immediately promised him a wheel chair that I had remained with. Owen's life seems to have come to a standstill because he has to spend the rest of his life on the wheel chair being fed and pushed around.

I am just wondering whether there was a way we could help Owen by providing him artificial legs and hands to make him mobile. I will investigate this with Holy family.

His worry is how his life will be especially that he is an orphan. He had actually gone to Lusaka to buy some goods to resell so that he could support his sisters and brothers as he was the only bread winner.

I request that we remember Owen in our prayers. His situation has however stabilised. I just wonder why such things happen to people who are already facing problems.

2. Solomon and Spencer

The news here is encouraging. They were both due to travel to South Africa on Sunday 11th July in order for Solomon to receive the operation for which he has been waiting so long.
Pray that this has happened and that the operation will be a success.

3. Connett

There is another urgent prayer request for a young man called Connett.

He is about the same age as Owen and was taken to the office where staff were appalled at the terrible disfigurement the lad had on his face. The director could only describe it as if the one side of his face had collapsed onto his shoulder. You can see a photo here.

It is hoped that his medical records can be sent to South Africa with Solomon and Spencer for the surgeons to have a look at.

We pray that they will be able to diagnose the problem and propose a solution.