Last week we went to help some of the occupational therapists from the District Hospital distribute wheelchairs and met some new kids that we went to visit in their homes to get to know the families a little better and see what the situation is like at home.
Our first stop was to visit Daniel. Daniel is eight years old and has cerebral palsy. He is unable to sit on his own, cannot speak and because the family lives so far outside of town does not have access to physical therapy.We drove for about an hour on a muddy path to get to his home. We found Daniel in the corner of a smoky kitchen lying on the floor about three feet away from the fire. His mother is pregnant and also has two other children to care for, so Daniel spends most of his time alone in the kitchen while his mother does what she can to put food on the table.
Daniel was given a wheelchair last week, but it is missing a few straps and supports that he needs to sit safely on his own. We loaded up the chair and brought it to the orthopedic office at the District hospital so that the proper supports can be added. When his wheelchair is ready his mother will come to town and meet with a physical therapist so that he can be measured for some splints to help with the positioning of this arms and legs to keep his contractures from getting worse.
We also visited Joshua, Limo and Wilson. These brothers all have varying degrees of the same disability. Their father died in 2009, leaving their mother to provide for them all on her own. She is doing a great job of caring for them, but struggles to get them to therapy and doctors appointments because the services they need are far from where they live and she doesn’t have the extra income to spend on transportation and medication.
Joshua is eleven years old and has some cognitive delays. He is able to walk, but his knees cannot straighten all the way. He is a funny little guy who wouldn’t let me within five feet of him the first time we met because he was convinced my tattoos were bugs crawling all over my arms. This time, since we came and met them in their own home everyone was more comfortable and much more talkative then they were the first time we met and Joshua even volunteered to walk us back to the car.
Limo is seventeen years old and also has some cognitive delays. His legs cannot straighten at all and he crouches while using his hands for balance to get around. He received a wheelchair and we found him sitting outside in the sun when we arrived. Limo was also more talkative (but not willings to smile for the camera) and it was fun to see him laughing and playing with Joshua and Wilson.
Wilson is fourteen years old and cannot speak, but understands everything that is said to him and was smiling and tapping his hand in agreement. He was burned when he was three years old and his mother told us that his chin was fused to his chest and his his bottom lip was fused to his shoulder. He was taken to Kijabe Hospital through the Operation Smile charity where they were able to help repair some of the damage caused by the accident. He also cannot walk and received a wheelchair at the distribution.
It was fun to spend some time with these boys and get to know them a little bit better. Joshua and Limo were telling stories and making jokes, while Wilson smiled and laughed along with them. We talked to their mother and will have them meet us in Kitale for the clinic in November that sends orthopedic surgeons out from Kijabe Hospital to assess children with disabilities and see what the next steps to helping this family will be.