Addiction to Activism

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— By James from Malawi

He switched gears and immediately accelerated the motorcycle into high speed. This became problematic as he failed to see the sharp bended and twisted road towards Nkhokwe maize mill. His motorcycle soon crushed him into the water channel and he immediately lost consciousness. The terrible sound of the crush attracted the villagers who flocked to the scene. Even though it occurred during the middle of the night, they improvised for a stretcher and took him to the nearest hospital.

James was the name of the driver who was in the motorcycle accident. He was on his way from the end of the year party of the Namitembo mission trade school in 2012. Despite being late and not invited to the party organized by Namitembo trade school, his popularity within the school led him to the high table. He was sitting with the chief priest of Namitembo Catholic parish and the coordinator of the school. He quickly took glasses of various wine and alcoholic beverages without a pause as a way of reaching the same level as his other colleagues. Beer kept flowing to the high table and the VIP at the table were drunk. James began mixing beer and shouted to friends that he would come up with a unique mix drink that would be sweeter and filled with even more flavor. Some waiters tried to caution him but he ridiculed them. He relocated himself to the corner where the beer fridges were, so that he would not wait to have his beer refilled. Totally drunk and confused he came out of the urinal room where he was smoking cannabis, and asked the security guard the whereabouts of his girlfriend ‘Alena’. The guard suspected she joined the company of anonymous guys in the blue Mercedes Benz classic that had just left the place. He got angry and promised to track, fight them and take back his queen. The guard and some of his friends tried to convince him not to leave the party and wait for the mission duty vehicle to deliver him home as he was extremely intoxicated, but he denounced all the advices, jumped on his Honda XL125 motorcycle and raced to the high way. Just three kilometers away from Namitembo he experienced illusions and lost control. After two days in coma at Nkansala hospital, he gained consciousness and realized that his body was bloused. He screamed ‘How, why and when did this happen?” He was hysterical.

The nurse calmed him and he started narrating what he recalled from his tragedy. He explained how he found himself at the party after being called by the driver of Namitembo Parish up to how he received the good gesture of the high priest in the party to join them in the high table. He managed to recall the conversation he made with the guard and friends, from that point it was as if there was blackout and the camera went completely off, so that he could not remember what happened to him, or who took him to the hospital. He put all the blames to himself by being an addict. He narrated his previous life to the nurse as if he was confessing to God. She comforted him that he would recover and gain back his disfigured appearance. In a comforting way, she told him that he had a crotchet ligament tear of the left knee, he would not die but he would have permanent unstable knee, since the ligaments do not re-grow. James had a flash back on how he joined the company of drunk work mates, really had the picture how Joni and Alex lost the job due to absenteeism. He saw how Blez was killed on the road accident after being run over by a heavy vehicle while drunk and Zondi was paralyzed after falling from 10 meters high on the railway bridge on way home from the bar.

James recovered after his accident and he is now an advocate for peace and behavior change, he used his own experience as an instrument in counseling the youth on drug and substance abuse addiction and sexual and reproductive health.

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James during his recovery