With origin in Kagera region, Tanzania’s western lake area, Anderson Karamagi put up a fight on every available avenue to scoop a good economic future. He finally settled at Sengerema, in Mwanza region, where he flourished by selling airtime vouchers.
All went well until two years ago. Let him tell it the way it was.
“Little would I know that on that Thursday fate was approaching that would change my entire life. It was on 21t January 2010 when armed bandits attacked me. They fired bullets at me, and thank God, only one hit my left hand near the palm. My assailants did not end there. They beat me up severely with rifle butts.
“I was numb, and after they had gone away I realized that they had damaged my kidneys.”
The beating left him almost paralysed. His legs got swollen, and hospital treatment proved unyielding. The pains he experienced when trying any movement were beyond tolerance. He was no longer the same, and he had to make do with changed circumstances in his life from then on.
A year later he heard about the medical prowess of pastor Ambilikile Masapila’s cup through television newscasts.
“At first I thought it was one of those pranks that are aired by any television station. From Sengerema, I saw the casts, but a few day later a relative of mine, who had made a visit to Samunge, came back very much alive.
“When he narrated the wonders taking place at Samunge, where he said rivers were also going upstream, I swallowed the bait because, seeing him in good health was far too much for me to handle. I started making plans to take on the journey to the village.
“A few days later, it was actually on March 23, 2011, I started the journey from Sengerema to Loliondo. It took me and my fellow passengers exactly seven days to make it to this place,” Karamagi rembers every detail of the crucial journey.
Of course it was not smooth sailing for him and his fellow travellers. They got stuck at Mugumu in Mara region where they were forced to stay for a number of days, until a soldier decided on his own to let the people go after government authorities there were acting on orders from higher authorities not to allow patients to go to the village because of the milling crowds, which posed a dangerous sanitation situation.
Upon reaching Kibaoni, about 15 km to Samunge, there was no way any vehicle could negotiate its way following a big traffic jam. It was another stay for days until when one of the vehicles was involved in an accident, killing two of its passengers.
“Police came to take details about the accident. The policemen were coming from Samunge where they had put up camp to control security. After they were through with their mission, I joined them in such a way that people who saw me believed I was one of them, possibly a plain-clothed one.
“I miraculously made it to the village, but on my way I could not believe the growing huge numbers of people and vehicles. Testing time came when I gulped the cup. Pains started to subdue and although I was painfully limping as I was going to the old man, I could suddenly feel my limbs coming to life. On the second day after I had taken the drug I could walk without help.
“I am now taking care of my family at Sengerema through mobile money transfers. I have never gone back, and I do not intend to go back. I have decided to do business here,” he concludes with a wry smile.
Karamagi cooks food for the few people who now pay visit to Babu. But during the time he got into the village after he got healed ‘miraculously’, he used to accommodate the sick in a tent he had erected.
“Business was very brisk and I did very well. I could earn up to Sh 10,000 a day for just letting people rest on a single mattress in turns.”
He, like the retired pastor, is looking forward to better days when people will renew their faith in the wonder drug and start flocking to the village again in their thousands.