Mbatjiua, The Celebrity Of Ohakweenyanga

14 Feb 2016 09:20am
By Isabella Bento

OHAKWEENYANGA, 14 FEB (NAMPA) – He jokingly calls himself the celebrity of Ohakweenyanga village as he gets plenty of attention – both wanted and unwanted.
With a zest for life, Mbatjiua Mbahaama is not your average 26-year-old. Sure he has a normal job, loves catching up with the rest of the world via the Internet and goes about his life as much as any other young man. The only difference is, he does it with just one arm.
In 2004, at just 15 years old, Mbahaama lost his right arm in an accident that he describes as “one of the craziest stories ever”. He however does not want to talk about it and says he is just grateful that most people accept him for who he is.
In Grade 9 at the time of the accident with his end-of-year examinations coming up, he was forced to learn how to use his left hand to do everything, and he hasn’t looked back since.
Born on a Thursday on 12 October 1989 in Ohakweenyanga village on the outskirts of Ongwediva, Mbatjiua Nehemiah Mbahaama is the last of three children raised in a single parent household.
He describes his mother, Lea Kadhila, as his role model, saying she has always been there for him. They share such a strong bond that Mbahaama moved back home from his flat on the premises of the school where he teaches.
He teaches Agriculture and Life Science at Mwadinomho Combined School where he has been a staff member for six years now.
“I am from a bloodline of educators; my grandparents were both principals at schools they founded, and my older brother and sister are also educators,” he says.
Asked why he chose to become a teacher, Mbahaama says cost was one of the factors that influenced his decision to study at the Ongwediva College of Education.
“My mother’s salary was less than my current housing allowance, so she couldn’t send me to other universities with her salary.”
Some of the challenges he faces in his career is standing for too long when writing on the blackboard, but he tries to stay positive. Technology also comes in handy as he gets to use a projector.
“I know it is ridiculous, but I sometimes use my one arm as a free ticket to not work in the field, but the downside is I cannot iron or simply tidy up my living space without asking for help.”
He says not being able to tie his own shoelaces or put his wristwatch on can be very frustrating, “but that does not stop me from going out”.
He also does things many would find impossible with one arm, like peeling an orange.
“Riding a bicycle is nothing compared to driving a car with my one arm,” Mbahaama says.
The young man confesses that he sometimes fears waking up one morning with both arms, as this would require him to change his entire life.
”I seriously do not miss working in the field or manually doing laundry,” he laughs.
Not only that, it would also mean he would have to change his personalised number plate, ‘1-ARM’; his handle on social networks and the signature on his identity document.
The only thing Mbahaama says he would like to change about himself is his shyness.
“It prevents me from doing certain things such as dancing,” he says, adding that he enjoys dancing but only does so secretly in his room.
Mbahaama is inspired by change and responsibility, and says he is most grateful for surviving the 2004 incident and for the fact that his mother got to witness him graduating from the Ongwediva College of Education in 2011.
His friends and family describe him as witty and an extrovert.
Aina Kwejo, who has known Mbahaama for close to 14 years, describes him as outspoken and strong.
“Being left-handed myself, I assisted him in learning how to use his left hand for writing and doing other basic things. It took him less than a year to master, and made me realise how strong and determined he was,” she says.
Another friend, Thomas Amukeshe who has known Mbahaama for 16 years, says: “He is the type of person who never allows anything to get in the way of something he is really passionate about”.
Amukeshe says he has been inspired by his friends since their high school years and the fact that he does not let his disability stand in his way makes him an even bigger inspiration.
As for what lies ahead, Mbahaama envisions himself in Ohakweenyanga with his own house and a family to call his own in the next five years.
He would also like to travel to Cape Town, South Africa and visit the popular Table Mountain - one of the things on his to-do-list.
Some of his favourite mottos that help keep him going are “Do it yourself” and “I will survive”.
“I tell myself these things every morning before I do anything else,” he says.
Mbahaama also teaches his learners that whatever situation or condition they find themselves in, they should never give up and should rather be grateful for the fact that they have been given another chance.
“Always work hard, never let anything get in your way and everything will surely go well for you,” he says.
Asked what superpower he would like to possess if he could, he says “flying” as he would have no worries about traffic or fuel costs, and would be able to get an aerial view of his village.
From the look of things for now, his superpower is getting through life with one arm, better than many people do with two.