Inspired by the courage displayed in the characters of Kathryn Stockett's Best Selling Novel The Help, Anderson Mambwe channeled his own courage by openly sharing stories of his own. What began as post-its on the counter, jotted down ideas on a notepad, and "what if" conversations over breakfast, the stories as told by Anderson and transcribed by Laura Schneider have settled nicely into an impressive outline of a memoir. Anderson Mambwe: Best Foot Forward tells of the journey from life as he knew it to life as he'll know it after a handful of angels in disguise extended unprecedented amazing grace.
Facing double above the knee amputation or certain death at age 17, Anderson was shepherded into the country by OMNI: Orphan Medical Network International and Seeds of Hope Ministries in pursuit of a future he never dreamed of having. On a mission to prove disability is not inability, Anderson tells of his life in Zambia, his time in the United States, and his excitement to return home after a life-altering journey to America and 21st century medicine.
Anderson wished to share this piece of his writing with all who have walked this path with him along with his deep gratitude for all of the assistance he's received and the support he's been overwhelmed by.
Mambilima School - September 2011
Excerpt from Anderson Mambwe: Best Foot Forward:
I am so grateful to all who have helped me and to all who have healed me on this journey. Great thanks to Dr. Remine and Mrs. Remine who have graciously cared for me as their own son. Thanks also to my best doctor, Dr. Chuck for his kindness and for giving me the chance at a future I never would have had. When he told me he was going to save my legs, I couldn’t believe it. He didn’t just save my legs, he saved my life. Thank you to Seeds of Hope and my sponsors for everything they have done and to Lewis-Gale Medical Center for their generosity. Thank you to Dr. Dan and Mrs. Gil for being so kind and for all of their help. Thank you to Ms. Jane for her paintings. Thank you to my friends, Mr. Bruce, Mrs. Stephanie, Maddy and Tee and to my sister, Laura for helping me write my story.
I will return back to Zambia able to walk on my own two feet, in shoes, for the very first time. I can’t begin to describe how amazing that feels. I was scared and excited about the surgeries, but am so thankful for the experience I had with the doctors and nurses who treated me so well. I look forward to returning to my school and my village as someone who will be able to participate in the community instead of living in isolation. I don’t know what its like to be unashamed of my feet, but I’m looking forward to finding out.
I am returning to Zambia having seen the hand of God at work in my life. I hope to return to my country with hope for the hopeless and with faith for those who need it. I have truly been blessed by great people in America – I will never forget them and I hope they will never forget me.
Roanoke, VA - November 2012