On the verge of becoming a rugby professional, Matt Mbanga was involved in a motorcycle accident whilst in Texas, USA. Close to death, he spent 5 days in a coma.
Just one of Matt’s injuries was the severing of his peroneal nerve and he was told he would never play sports again. 9 months in a wheelchair had a profound effect on Matt and changed his life. He lives in Zimbabwe and is an Ambassador for several charities, working with and ministering to orphaned and disadvantaged children and ROCK of Africa outreaches from the USA.
“2010 was an epic year; my wife and I walked the streets of many of Europe’s most famous ancient cities and strode across the western states of America. The SAFO performed well on the streets of Europe. I wore it in well with no discomfort during 16 days of city tours and 8 hours+ daily wear.
Once in the USA, my wife and I hiked 8 miles up into the San Juan Mountains in Southern Colorado. I wore new boots – big mistake! My heel was wedged between the leather and the SAFO for a 3 hour ascent, which gave me a golf-ball-sized blister on my heel. I descended barefoot and after a gruelling 4 hours of hobbling, reached the foot of the range and immediately placed my foot in the cool waters of a stream.
The experience was magical non-the-less and a valuable lesson was learned about the wearing in of any new shoes! Here in the highlands of Zimbabwe, I have enjoyed and benefited from the SAFO as my wife and I return to our life’s work and passion. We ran two leadership camps for leading private girls and boys high schools in the capital Harare at the end of 2010 and facilitated an orphan camp in February 2011 – my first since being fitted with the SAFO.
The ease and comfort with which I am now able to move around and participate in the many team building and fear-facing challenges that the children are expected to complete has made a world of difference to my enjoyment and effectiveness as a facilitator. In the excitement of purchasing my first SAFO, I had promised myself to complete a marathon!
My training has suffered as my daily routine means that I have been too physically tired at the end of the day to consider running. Like good rural folk we are up at 5.30am everyday, but I have not been inspired to have a pre-sunrise run. We are battling for water and everyday my wakeup and evening ritual consists of collecting buckets of water from rain-harvesting tanks. In the dry season there are 3kms and a rickety, old hand pump between the water and I. Once the water is connected, I am determined to get back into training and to run that marathon!