After being away, I’ve been spending time with the kids at the house and also checking up on all those who we support from their homes. Sometimes it’s difficult to balance the needs with how exactly I can help, but with his perfect timing God brought us a way to help with some of the struggles that these children are facing. There is an occupational therapist in town, named Douglass, who asked us to introduce him to some kids in need that aren’t currently receiving proper therapy. So yesterday we loaded up and visited seven children in their homes so that Douglass could do a preliminary assessment of their condition.
We visited Keila who is 2 years old and has microcephaly, cerebral palsy and epilepsy. Her father works as a mechanic in town and her mother stays home and takes care of the kids. Keila is the youngest of three. Her mother tries to care for her, but doesn’t know where to begin because her child has so many specific needs. The most pressing issue is getting Keila proper therapy so that she can hopefully learn to sit and support her head on her own. We met her mother at the District Hospital and got her set up with the occupational therapists who are going to make splints for her legs to keep them from becoming stiff and she will be getting therapy three times a week with Douglass. After that we will see if we can get her some medication for her epilepsy so that she can sleep better at night and doesn’t have as many seizures.
Then we went to visit Allan. His mother is the matron at a local primary school, who is in charge of keeping an eye on the boys who board at the school. She lives in the dorms with her three children because her husband threw them out of the house and abandoned them completely. Allan has hydrocephalus and had an operation to relieve the pressure in his school when he was younger. Now he is 7 years old and still needs to be supported to sit. It is difficult to get him to therapy because his mother has to work, but we talked to the principal and she agreed to allow the mother to take him to therapy in the afternoons. We are also trying to see if Allan can start attending nursery class at the school so that he can be able to socialize with the other kids instead of sitting alone in the dorms all day.
We also reconnected with Victor this week. His family had moved, so he was a little hard to find, but we found their new house and got to see him again. Victor is five years old and has cerebral palsy and is unable to sit, support his head and speak. His father left because he was unwilling to support Victor. Now his mother is struggling to provide for her family because it is difficult for her to find work with Victor at home because he needs so much care. Victor also has some health complications besides being malnourished. His breathing is very raspy, which makes eating difficult, and he also has convulsions from time to time. He will start therapy this week and will also see a physician to see if some of his medical needs can be addressed. Victor also lays on his back all day because he has no seat that supports him in the way that he needs to be able to sit on his own. I will be working with Douglass to design him a sitting aide so that he will be able to sit properly, which may help with his breathing issues and allow him to work the muscles that need strengthening for him to be able to sit.
Emmanuel is two years old and has Down Syndrome. His father blames the mother for having a child with a disability and Emmanuel suffers because of that. He is severely malnourished and cannot even sit on his own because his father is reluctant to allow his mother to feed and care for him in the way that he needs. We stopped by his house unannounced and found him all alone at home. Manu’s situation is difficult because even if we try to give him support at home, his father keeps the mother from caring for him simply because he is different. We will be starting Manu with light therapy until he gets healthier and can get to a healthy weight so that he gains the strength that he needs to be able to start developing gross motor skills.
I have known Mary for a long time. She is one of the first children that I started supporting from her home. It is encouraging to see how well her parents are caring for her. She has grown big and is even gaining strength and can almost support her head on her own. If she is holding on to the table she can almost stand on her own. I thought that the little extra boost of therapy will help her continue to develop in the areas where she is a little behind so we took Douglass to assess her and she will also be starting therapy with him next week.
Moses was abandoned at the District Hospital last year. He lives at a nearby children’s home ran by one of my friends. Right now he is not receiving therapy and he is already such a strong little guy. He can crawl around the house and if supported can walk, he just needs a little work on his balance. He cannot speak, but he is the happiest little guy around. Along with starting physical therapy, Douglass suggested that we take him by the Orthepedic Office at District Hospital to see if we can get him fitted with special shoes that will correct his gait and hopefully get him closer to being able to walk on his own.
Josephine is the last child that we went to visit. Her mother was in boarding school and came home pregnant. Josephine was born premature and her mother abandoned her and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Josephine is five years old and has Down Syndrome. Her gross motor skills are fine, but she has some delays in speech and fine motor skills. Because her grandmother is not in the best health, Douglass agreed to pass by the house and work with her from home. I recently sponsored Josephine to start at a nursery school near her house. It was great to see her all clean in her uniform and socializing with the other students. I plan on going back and working with the teacher to come up with an educational plan for Josephine because although her teacher is willing to have her in her class, she lacks the knowledge of where to start when it comes to teaching her.
Many of these children come from single parent homes. It has recently become so evident how difficult it is for these mothers to provide for their children. Even those who are still with their husbands are often harassed or overwhelmed with their children because they don’t get support from their husbands. They are facing the dilemma of leaving their child unattended at home while they work or staying home and struggling to care for their children without an income. There is no easy solution. They all can’t come to the house, but I am trying to help where possible to provide support and advice to work with parents to be able to provide these precious little ones with the best care from their homes. God has opened the doors for a great first step of providing them with therapy and I have faith that he will continue to open up more doors. Please keep these sweet little ones and their families in your prayers as we continue to work alongside the parents.