- A man who suffered paralysis almost ten years ago in Uganda has redone himself
- He went from a successful business career into politics
- His life is better now, with him thanking his newfound solace
Sulaiman Mayanja’s legs are paralysed. This engineer from Uganda started feeling sick at some point in 2008. He arrived at work dragging his feet, and his co-workers advised to go to the hospital.
Several tests were performed on him, but there was no clue as to what was happening. After a few days, “I felt sharper pain in my lower body,” he said, adding that doctor “even tested me for rheumatism, but all was in vain.”
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Along the following days, Mayanja’s pains grew sharper, especially on his groin and toes. He tried reflexology, but to no avail. In fact, everything made a turn to the worse.
During one session he felt a sharp sound on his back. Something broke, and from then on he was unable to feel the lower part of his body. “I instantly turned cold and motionless,” he recalls. Since then, the whole of his body below the waistline got permanently paralysed.
Mayanja has been on a wheelchair since that fateful day. He opted to try several other treatments, even costly surgery, but nothing worked. “All I got was this big scar and the metals inside,” Mayanja said.
Life worsened for him after that. His wife left him, and his health deteriorated. But the rest of his family supported Mayanja, and he managed to overcome his depression, and stay healthy. He has a strong upper body, good skin, and what is most important –a positive attitude.
His modified car, a Toyota Corolla, takes him everywhere, which he drives using his hands to accelerate and brake. It is the the same vehicle he used before he lost use of his legs.
Mayanja had been a successful professional beforehand. He was operations manager at New Horizons Computer Learning Centres, an international ICT company, when he went paralysed.
His new condition made him lose the opportunity of continuing to rise in his profession. Mayanja considers there is a negative attitude towards people with disabilities (PWD) in Uganda. So he decided to drop his business career and return to teaching, and also got into politics in order to help other people in the same situation as his.
He served as the District Service Commissioner for Sembabule, his home district, and has run for political positions with the ruling National Resistance Movement party. He is currently the PWDs councillor in Makindye-Ssaabagabo municipality.
“My legs are paralysed but I’m liberated because I’m better than millions of Ugandans out there in one way or another. I’m highly educated; I have a political office, political connections businesses, children, a home, a car, etc.” Mayanja gratefully comments. And he also has a new wife!