“To wheelie a wheelchair down stairs isn’t exactly an easy task”

For the first time in six months I can come home in peace, move into the reception area, push the lift button and without effort get into my Sea Point apartment.

When I started looking for an apartment close to work I took possible electricity interruptions into consideration, but decided to buy an apartment on the first floor.  I never entertained the thought that the lift would come to a halt and need a complete overhaul.

After months of drama between the body corporate and the service provider during the festive season with regards to the contract, the very expensive decision was reached that the lift would have to be replaced.

I started weighing my options and considered renting out my apartment and living somewhere else, but the market in Cape Town is extremely saturated.  Finally I decided to knock on the door of the Zimbabwean, let’s call him Dougie, who looked after the grounds. “No worries my sister.  I help you”.  Of course I paid him for his services.  Not that he insisted.  He even said I should pay him less than I offered.  To wheelie a wheelchair down stairs isn’t exactly an easy task.  But thankfully Dougie seems to be a pro.

For the past six months Dougie would take me up and down the stairs all the while telling me more about his life.  How he was a “Mugabe soldier” and “no longer a bad person”.  When the cold hit Cape Town he would walk around in his shorts and t-shirt.  “No my sister.  If you saw what they did to us in training.  They would throw you into freezing cold water and tell you to stay there.  This isn’t cold”.

Sunday was the first day he didn’t have to wheelie me down the stairs.  “Congratulations my sister”.  Dougie lives in his small room beneath my apartment.  Even though I’m over the moon that the lift is finally operational, I’ll miss our daily chats about life, love and everything else.