Lusaka

I came across the following poem on website dedicated to literature with a disability theme. The web site is entitled “A Different Light”.

This poem immediately brought me back to my last trip to Zambia. We were in Lusaka and visiting a family with a son named Lazarus, who was around 14 years old. Lazarus had a disability and was in the home. The home was very small and cramped and so we suggested that we could meet outside. Lazarus’ mother went to get the wheelchair for him, so he could be outside. The wheelchair was broken – it would work for him to sit in, maybe go for a few meters, but clearly not suitable to go any distance. I wondered how Lazarus would get to school – how he even got outside for any periods of time – how he socialized with his friends?

This poem made me think of Lazarus.

Can’t find a way out

Been two years she said
Since I’ve been
Out there
Since my wheelchair broke.
Can’t be fixed any more
Can’t find a way out
Of my house.

World out there looks different now
Full of strangers

Forgetting who I am

I don’t know their faces
When they walk by my window
They don’t know mine
Maybe they never will.

I can’t fix it
Not my wheelchair or
Other things
That don’t work
Out there
Because they can’t don’t won’t see
People like me.

Copyright 2007 Ruth Harrigan

 

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