Tuesday, January 26, 2021: Struck with a mild stroke two years ago, it was a struggle for the family of
Clement Miembei a person with special need (in wheelchair) to move him to and from when in times of using a toilet.
The family toilet was 10 meters away from the house in the nearby bushes. It was an open pit. The family thought having a toilet close to the house was unsafe because it smelled a lot. Every day, any ofthe family members would carry him on piggy back to use the toilet.
This is the story of 66-year-old Cletus Amangei Miembei in Plastic Compound, a peri-urban community in Nabak Local Level government in Nawaeb District of Morobe.
Cletus, a lad from Ambunti Dreikikir District of East Sepik Province was one of the pioneer business students of Lae Technical College in its early years in the 1950s.
He later got married to Patricia, and today they have seven children and 12 grandchildren. He has counted his blessings and with a grin, knows that the Miembei family name lives on.
He has had his share as a taxpayer whilst working for WR Carpenters and made his name as a branch manager, then to Steamships, Archies business equipment, and supplies as a sales manager before his retirement with Toner PNG in 2014.
It was in May 2019 when Cletus started feeling critically unwell. He was rushed to Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae to seek medical help. However, it was only the beginning of the nightmare for his family. The doctor’s diagnosis had returned the result that Cletus would need special care.
Cletus was diagnosed with a mild stroke, causing the left side of his body and limb to become numb that he could not speak properly.
Working under the European Union-UNICEF PNG Government WASH project as the implementing partners, World Vision Officers met this determined old parent in his wheelchair only recently in 2020.
Since his illness, Cletus could not access the toilet and shower alone. He needed the help of his family members every day.
The family common open-pit toilet is about 10-15 meters away from the family house. Every day for almost a year, his family members had to carry him to use the toilet every day. His health conditions deteriorated with poor access to sanitation facilities.
However, it is now a different story.
Cletus could not articulate, but he mumbled and gave his best smile. He now has access to his own specially designed toilet and shower room constructed by his son-in-law.
Son-in-law Victor Pocbu said the Klinpela komuniti Projek has helped the family to realize the critical sanitation need of a person with a disability.
“We thought having a toilet close to the house is unsafe because it smells a lot. But now, the project taught us how to make toilets safe and smell free. From this knowledge, I constructed a special toilet and shower for dad next to the house. He can easily get in his wheelchair and go to his toilet and shower.”
Cletus now has the support of his family after the WaSH
He raised his right hand up and pointed towards his new toilet with a sit made of a Sato pan and smiled.
The facility has water catchment from a roof gutter piped into a 40-litre water storage drum and his shower room with taps.
His son-in-law Victor says the new facility is an intervention the Klinpela Komuniti Projek taught them with funding from the European Union and UNICEF.
Our visit to Cletus cheers him up. He insisted on showing us on camera how he uses his new facility.
With little help from his son-in-law, he got off his wheelchair, held onto the walking rail of his toilet and walked ten steps, pointed to the door of his shower room toilet, nodded in appreciation to us before getting back on his wheelchair.
Victor says materials needed for the building of basic safe toilets are readily available for PWD (People Living with disabilities).
However, they needed the expert skills and knowledge from WaSH officers to create something useful for them.
- Story and picturses supplied by World Vision.