Winston was the first person I got introduced to, when I told my translators I’m looking for someone with an interesting story to share.
Disabled since childhood, pastor Matafwali found himself unable to sustain himself and support his family on the modest income he received from doing church work. Since the economic recession hit Zambia, Winston has been supplementing his income by selling mobile phone air time in the market, working for 9 hours per day, 6 days per week.
Every morning him and his wife Tizi travel to the market in the centre of Kitwe. Zambian mini-buses have no space for wheelchairs, so Winston is forced to cover the costs of a return journey in a private taxi, which takes away a large part of his daily income.
It’s even more difficult for disabled people working in the market or on the streets of Kitwe. Most markets with their narrow unpaved corridors are completely inaccessible to a person in a wheelchair, and Winston admits having to be careful with his diet to avoid using the bathroom during his 9-hour working day.
Every Sunday, pastor Matafwali conducts a service at King’s Garden Church, temporarily hosted in a building of a local secondary school.
The hardship don’t stop Winston dreaming big. He works to improve his house: “I want it to be more accessible to me, so when I’m at home, I feel like a king on my own territory”. He wants to see his children educated and not to struggle in the same way he does now. He hopes to start a new business: “I also want to buy myself a car and operate it as a taxi, since moving around is so difficult for me. I want to have mobility, go whenever I want, just like that.” He also wants to go into clothing industry, setting up a boutique-style stall that his wife will manage. Winston dreams to get independence and be respected for the work he does: “I would like to have my own small office, where I can do business in a more dignified way than on the streets.”
When asked what we would do if he had a bit of extra income, Winston says he would go swimming on the weekends: “that’s the sport I like!”