The Case of the Destitute

He is about 50. He has no known family. He claims he is divorced. Efforts to locate his family have proved futile. For over 15 years there has been no known contact with a member of his family.

In 1999, a pastor found Mr. Edwin. He was in his 30s and was transporting people using his motorbike (okada). The pastor took keen interest in Mr.Edwin as not only was he one of the most regular church goers, he was also gifted in speaking in tongues. However, the speaking in tongues took a turn for the worst when Mr. Edwin could be seen and heard violently screaming in tongues and hitting the walls. Edwin’s then landlord decided to evict him as the disturbances were getting too much. The pastor narrated that Edwin’s prayers went beyond the norm. He noticed that Edwin would drive his motorcycle into the church and leave the keys in the ignition with the engine running. 

After Mr. Edwin was evicted, a church member took him in and employed him to start selling pure water. His condition further deteriorated as Edwin could be heard talking to himself, wandering aimlessly even though he was supposed to have been selling pure water. It got to a situation where he could hardly even take care of himself. The pastor and other church members looked once more for any family member, even as far as his village but none was found. 

In line with this year’s theme, ’Psychological and mental first aid for all’, the church community gathered together to help Edwin so as to ensure that he gets his life back on track, even though their means were not medical. It cannot be easy to assist someone you are not related to for over 15 years. During the Mental Health Camp held on 8th October in Mpape, Edwin was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. Through the partnership with BasicNeeds, of which Gede is a franchisee, Edwin will be able to have access to medication for the first time in fifteen years. It may take a while, as the case has gone untreated for some time but there is still a glimmer of hope for Edwin.