Muchaneta Chimuka Senior Reporter
SINCE the outbreak of Covid-19 in Zimbabwe, life has never been rosy for many people with disabilities as they fail to cope with the current living conditions, which have proven difficult.
Jameli Bakali (53) of Epworth who had her eyes plucked out because of cancer says she is struggling to make ends meet.
She now begs from a pavement near Ok Julius Nyerere.
“People who come to buy their groceries assist me with food but it’s rare to be given money to buy items that I need,” she lamented.
She has no radio at home but has heard people talking about Covid-19 being in Zimbabwe.
“I just heard people saying that there is corona virus, but I did not get enough information. I did not learn on how to use braille so even if the information is available, I cannot access it.
“I was already grown when I became blind, but I am eager to learn braille if resources permit. I love reading,” she revealed.
Bakali said she cannot practice social distancing as she needs assistance from strangers who hold her hands to and from her vending place.
“From Epworth to the central business district I can be assisted by more than five people to cross the road. At times, I move alone. I used to see but I was diagnosed with cancer of the eyes some years back. Both my eyes were removed at Parirenyatwa Group of Hospitals Cancer Unit.”
She said she survives from begging and is worried that the cancer cells are returning at a time Covid-19 has made life harder.
“The cancer cells are still growing and I need consistent check-ups, but due to Covid-19 no well-wishers are willing to assist with money. I am forced to use salt and water solution to relieve pain and the holes are growing bigger,” she said.
Domestic violence in the streets does not spare her.
“Some street children often come to my begging place with papers which they put inside the holes on my eyes. They even steal some of the money and goodies that I receive from well-wishers making my life more difficult. They scold me using vulgar language. At one time, I was seated at my old vending site at near Cobacana when a man came and dragged me. He wanted to sexually abuse me at the Harare Gardens and I had to scream until some people assisted me. I pray that one day if I happen to have a business at home like selling, I will not set my foot in the CBD,” she said.
Meanwhile, Daniel Gonora a blind street singer is failing to make ends meet after his business was cut short due to Covid-19.
He relied on street shows in the CBD but cannot perform due to Covid-19 movement restrictions.