Thursday, February 26, 2015

Hopes for healing

On March 1, an orthopedic surgeon will visit Kananga along with a physical therapist. Dr. Theuri, the surgeon, will perform surgeries at IMCK (the Presbyterian hospital near Kananga), and Miriam, the physical therapist, will train nurses and other staff in follow up therapy. The primary motivation for this visit came from three of the children in the Ditekemena program for street kids who have physical handicaps that could be improved with surgery. We want to introduce you to each of them, and ask you to pray with us for successful surgeries and recovery.
First, we have Andre. Andre’s thigh bones are bowed, rather than straight, so he has a hard time running or walking long distances, and his growth is stunted. We think that perhaps nutritional deficiency when he was younger precipitated this problem. Andre is now 7 years old.

Second, we have Espoire. Espoire is currently in the first year of secondary school, and is 13 years old. His right leg is permanently bent at about a 30 degree angle, so he walks with a crutch. It is not clear exactly what the cause is, but we think there was an accident at some point when he was younger without proper treatment or setting of the bone. Doctors at IMCK think that it probably will not be possible to recover movement in the knee, but that they might able to reduce the angle so that he could walk without a crutch.
Mukendi Espoir
And third, we have Dominique. Dominique had tuberculosis when he was younger, and it appears that it moved into and affected his spine. His spine is severely weakened, and he has a permanent hunch. It is hard for him to stand, let alone walk very far. We are not sure that his condition is operable, but are praying that something could be done, perhaps inserting a rod in the spine to give support. Dominique loves going to church, and has a gift for drawing. His father is living and has given approval for this surgery; he was chased away from home when he was accused of witchcraft by his uncle.
Dominique, center, celebrates the arrival of our department’s new vehicle with other
kids. For comparison, he and Serge (far right) are both 12 years old.

There are two other children who won’t have surgery next week, but who have physical challenges that we hope can receive treatment soon. One of the children who we hope will benefit from physical therapy is Kanku. Kanku has cerebral palsy. It does not seem to be severe, and he is able to walk on his own short distances with the help of a stick. We hope that physical therapy could help relax and strengthen his muscles, and help him to be more mobile.

The final child is Macqui. A few years ago, when she was about 4 or 5, she was pushed down some stairs. She was seriously hurt, and from that time had trouble hearing. She has partial hearing in one ear, but can only hear someone speaking if they speak loudly directly into her ear. In a country with such minimal infrastructure like Congo, there are very few services or allowances for people with disabilities. This makes it difficult for her to learn or progress in school. A couple of doctors have examined her, but there is not an audiometer in our province that could do a proper hearing test. We are hopeful that she could be taken to Kinshasa soon, and assessed to determine what the problem is and whether hearing aids could help her.

There are several churches and individuals that gave financial contributions to make this medical visit possible. Medical Benevolence Foundation found the medical professionals, and is also providing coordination and funds for this visit. These medical professionals from CURE in Kenya are giving their vacation time to come to an underserved area. They will treat each of these kids, and also perform surgeries on other patients in need and provide instruction and example for other doctors at IMCK. We are very grateful to everyone involved for the part they play and know that God will continue to hear and answer our prayers for healing in these kids!


Jimmy Shafe said...

Kristi, Thanks to your encouragement, ROW-Congo was delighted to be able to help with this need. God bless y'all and God bless these precious children!

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Ruthie Schaad said...

This is wonderful and sounds like you have a great positive week ahead! Waiting for the follow up news and thanks to Kristi and all those helping with this.

Millie Cox said...

Kristi, this is such a wonderful opportunity for these children. As one who grew up having surgeries (polio 1953),I sympathize with what they will be facing this week- but it will be all for the better and they will hopefully thrive. I look forward to coming to Congo in May with the MPPC in Charlotte group and meeting you all.