Hers, is a life lived against the odds.With almost everything seeming to be against her, Cynthia Sichula has triumphed over her ills.
For years, she lived an ordinary and relatively healthy life of a teacher.But little did she know, that she had a serious affliction.
She was struck with gangrene.Gangrene is potentially a life threatening condition that happens when body tissues die,
At its worst a body part begins to rot and amputation is inevitable.In April 2009, Cynthia’s gangrene had wasted both her legs at the knee and doctors had no option but to amputate.
"I got gangrene, i didn't know that disease. I was just told by the doctor, he explained to me. Both of my legs started drying up, i stopped feeling pain. Doctors decided to remove both legs so that in future i may wear those plastic limbs. I actually got sick on 31st December 2008 as we were going into 2009 and four months later i was amputated," said Cynthia.And so ended her life as a teacher.Confined to a wheel chair, Cynthia had difficulties in getting a job as a teacher.
To make matters worse, her husband also lost his job at Luanshya Copper Mines when the company was placed under maintenance and care.With both of them out of employment, Cynthia decided to form Zyuka Nursery and Primary School inside her two bedroom house in Luanshya’s Section 25 area.
"I just decided to open a school here in my living room. The school is three years old now and i have pupils from nursery to Grade four."
For the past three years that the school has been in operation, a number of pupils have passed through her hands and gone on to continue with higher education.This is her consolation.
"I have taught many pupils at this school, some are even in upper schools. Even these who are here are very sharp. Very soon they will go to higher schools like Nkambo Primary School because here i don't have Grade five," she said.
Her condition does not make it easy for her to teach as she is confined to here wheel chair and movements restricted.
One of her challenges is writing on the board.
|Cynthia Sichula listening to her pupils in class|
Her son, who is one of her pupils, helps out, though his assistance is limited.But Cynthia is undaunted.
"I'm appealing to the First Lady Mrs Esther Lungu to help me with the building of the school, as you can see the classroom is too small. I only have two desks and a board," said Cynthia.But her teaching has NOT been in vain.
Her pupils are sharp and very alive to current affairs.When this blogger visited the school, he heard them recite the name of the President, names of all previous Presidents, Zambia's first female Vice President and the country's youngest ever diplomat Vernon Mwaanga.
The young boys and girls enjoy being taught by their sole teacher.
"She teaches very well and she is sharp," said one of the female Grade Two pupils.And her neighbours marvel at her endurance.
"Children from this school are doing very well and the owner is making an impact in our neighbourhood. The lady needs alot of help from wellwishers," said James Katempa.It is obvious that Cynthia is one of those rare souls, who remain undaunted and keep going even when it is darkest.
EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was originally aired on TV1's Morning Live program on 6th April 2017 and it can be watched here.