By Faith Nyasuguta
A 52-year-old man has been labeled “a pregnant man” for ten years because of his enormous extraordinary belly.
Joseph Ndayambaje, a Rwandese national, has been mocked by people who often ask when he will deliver or else his stomach will burst.
“I’ve received so many comments from people who tell me to visit a witch doctor to unravel the mystery and treat my pregnancy,” he says.
He has become the laughing stock of the village, mainly when he meets children who shout that his belly is too big due to overeating.
Ndayambaje, who previously worked with a Dutch company for 15 years, lived an everyday healthy life until 2016 when illness struck.
His illness took a long time to be identified, prompting him to move to various hospitals until he was diagnosed with Hepatitis B.
“I went to hospitals for more than five years without knowing what I was suffering from,” he adds.
Hepatitis B is a severe liver infection disease that causes fluid in the abdomen. Other symptoms are severe abdominal pain, vomiting, dark urine, a web of swollen blood vessels in the skin, and yellowing of the skin and eyes.
It can cause liver failure or cancer of the liver if the patient does not seek early medical attention.
Due to his deteriorating health, Ndayambaje’s contract was terminated, forcing him to sell his property to cater to his ballooning medical expenses.
He later launched an enterprise that thrived for a few months. Life was promising until the business collapsed afterwards.
Since then, he has lived a solitary life with his wife and children. He claims abandonment by relatives and friends because of his poverty.
He says they never answer his phone calls, even if his intention was not to ask for their money.
His wife Nyirasabimana Agnes explained how her husband’s health had taken a toll on the family since he was the sole breadwinner.
Agnes, a mother of four, fell into depression because she could not fathom how the good life they were living could change to poverty within a short time.
“I could not imagine how we would lack school fees for our children,” she says.
Ndayambaje narrates how sleeping has become a nightmare because of the excruciating pain he feels daily.
He is currently containing his pain with painkillers from chemists, which he reveals that sometimes they fail to ease his much pain.
As days go by, Ndayambaje fears the unknown as he can no longer cater for his treatment.