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Home / ‘I might never go back home’… Snakebite victim gives up hope

‘I might never go back home’… Snakebite victim gives up hope

2024-01-22  Festus Hamalwa

‘I might never go back home’… Snakebite victim gives up hope

ONGWEDIVA - A 43-year-old woman whose body has been disfigured, discoloured, and her arm and leg amputated following an alleged series of snakebites, has expressed deep despair and fear that she may not make it out of hospital. 

Elizabeth Joseph from Oipapakane village in the Ohangwena region has been hospitalised at the Engela District Hospital since December 2023. She is slated to be transferred to the Oshakati Intermediate Hospital for an impending operation.

Joseph was allegedly bitten by snakes, once on her arm in 2015 and in 2021 on her leg. She has since been in and out of hospital.

In a conversation with New Era, Joseph, who is weighed down by the illness, said she fears that she may not make it out of hospital this time around. 

Her condition has worsened, and she fears that she may not spend time with her children ever again. The mother of five said her plight takes a toll on her mental and physical well-being.

“I heard that a good Samaritan has built a beautiful bedroom for me, but I don’t think that I will ever sleep in that room. I don’t think I will make it out of here alive this time.  I cannot sleep at night; I have been fighting for too long. Sometimes I want to commit suicide. It is not easy for me to fight this battle,” she lamented.

Joseph recounted her harrowing journey, disclosing that she was first bitten by a snake in 2015 while working at a recycling company in Omafo in Helao Nafidi. The initial incident led to the amputation of her right arm and leg.

In 2021, tragedy struck again when a snake bit her while she was seated in her wheelchair at home during the night. Her remaining left arm and leg are now scheduled for amputation, and her eyesight is gradually deteriorating.

“Almost 70% of my body has turned black. At first glance, people think I am dressed in black clothes. But the worst is the pain, which feels like my entire body has been set on fire,” the long-suffering woman narrated.

She described unsettling sensations, including feeling the movement of a snake within her body, especially when she is asleep, and assumes that it is maggots moving.

Joseph vehemently denied rumours circulating among villagers that she has been bewitched because of an alleged infidelity with someone else’s husband.

“I know it is spiritual snakes that bit me, but it is not because I slept with someone’s husband. I am already in pain, but people are still spreading rumours,” she decried her lot.


2024-01-22  Festus Hamalwa

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