In Rayisi Kwizera‘s life, the year 1997 will always be remembered, not in a good way. Just at the age of 12, Kwizera stepped on a bomb at his home in Butare, in the current Huye District, and lost his left leg.
It is more than inspiring to see how Kwizera has adjusted to his new life and continues to take his love for cycling to a different level every passing day.
He was riding from Muhanga District when he was approached and asked to be interviewed. While riding, he keeps earpieces connected to his phone to automatically pick calls.
In an interview with The New Times, Kwizera narrated his ordeal about how he woke up from a hospital bed and discovered he had one leg.
“When I woke up I could not feel my left leg. I closed my eyes repeatedly hoping it was just a bad dream. When I opened my eyes again and realised that I wasn’t dreaming and that my left leg was in fact gone for good, I almost passed out in shock,” Kwizera glumly narrated.
He added that he was very bitter with life.
“It took time for me to accept my fate and appreciate the life I still had. I started doing things like riding bicycles since I always enjoyed doing that even before that incident and even contemplated learning how to ride a motorbike. It is important not to give up on your talent even in life challenging moments,” Kwizera disclosed.
In the mean time he gained the desire to participate in locally organised cycling competitions for the handicapped.
“In 2001, One Love Rwanda organized a cycling competition in Kigali. I participated and even won the race. I received money and purchased a professional cycling bicycle. I also started practicing with able-bodied people but it was hard to outride them,” he explained.
Despite having such talent and passion, Kwizera was not able to go and participate in the 2012 Paralympics games held in London this year.
“I felt bad for not having the chance to go and participate. I was told that I had not participated in many competitions and therefore not fit to participate. I’m requesting for sponsorship so that I can get the chance to participate in these competitions and earn qualification to participate at international events.”
“I have not given up hope and that is why I keep training. For example, I have been experiencing muscle cramps. I ride long distances as its part of my practice. I advise everyone who has a goal in life to always try to make it a reality despite challenging times,” he said.
Besides living his dream, in 2006, Kwizera married Jeannette Mukamana and the two are blessed with two daughters.
“Whenever I am not riding my bicycle, I am at Kisementi (Kigali) where I watch over costumers cars (at Ndoli super market) and the supermarket owner pays me as well. I do this so that I can get some money to look after my family instead of sitting home doing nothing. If given the chance to get a better job, I think I can be a driver,” Kwizera stated.