Funky Socks Change Lives
These are the stories of the kids who live full time at the OTC (Orthopedic Training Center)
Gifty has lived at the OTC full time for two years. Gifty was born into a poor family with two other sisters. Immediately her mother could see there was something different about Gifty. Gifty could not support her weight or use her arms and legs appropriately. Her mother was busy trying to make ends meet for their family and take care of the two other daughters. She had no way to take care of a child with special needs. Gifty's mother put Gifty in a bucket. In the bucket at least she could be upright, and she would stay put. Gifty was left in the bucket full time from 6 months to 5 years old. Gifty used the bucket to spend her days in, she ate in the bucket, she urinated in the bucket and she defecated in the bucket. At age five and a half someone felt the need to do something for Gifty, her story was submitted to the local new station and GLoria from the OTC caught it. Sister Elizabeth from the OTC got the details on how they could rescue Gifty and provide a better life for her outside of her bucket. Sister Elizabeth said when she arrived, Gifty was breaking the bucket as she had been growing and there was no place for her legs and arms to stretch. Gifty was diagnosed with Crebral Palsey and spends her days at the OTC now full time. Her mother was never interested in providing the proper care that Gifty needed and needs. Gifty is smart and knows everyone and everything that's happening at the OTC. Although she is in a much better place, it has only been two years since she left her bucket full time. Gifty is incontinent as those muscles were never even given a chance. While hanging out of with Gifty we learned that she loves to be held and touched, we spent time twirling her around and swinging her back and forth in our arms. We painted her finger and toe nails and she enjoyed every moment. Gifty needs your support! The care associated with Gifty is not much at all, she needs $40 for a month of care at the OTC. THe money covers her food, her bed, her care and her schooling. Join #teamgifty Today.
Pa was found by the community rehabilitation team from the OTC. Once a week a team of two members goes into the villages surrounding the OTC to look for children and adults who need care.
Eleazer, an intern at the OTC recalls walking up to a dilapidated mud hut that had recently fallen to do the high rains. Just inside the broken down door was Pa. Pa was 4 at the time, he was malnourished, he had worms and he was not walking or sitting up. His mother had two other children who were younger than Pa, and had no desire to take care of Pa and the list of needs he had.
Eleazer and team brought him to the OTC. Pa has pretty severe Cerebral Palsy and club feet. He is non verbal, and he has no front teeth due to the awful diet he was fed by his biological mother. Pa is 6 now, he is as strong as 10 year old as he uses his arms for everything.
While visiting him at the OTC, we got to watch him go swimming for the first time, although he is non verbal, we knew he was loving it based on his squeals of delight. Pa has the sweetest heart and we wanted to scoop him up and bring him home.
Sule has been living at the OTC for 4 years. As a young boy his mother gave him some small change equivalent to .30 cents to go and buy some bananas. Sule got distracted on the way and ended up losing the money.
When he returned home and reported the news to his mother, he was punished. His punishment was to have his hands and feet held in a burning fire. Sule now has scarred nubs for fingers and he has no toes.
Sule's father left his wife after this incident, but the new girlfriend does not want anything to do with Sule. Sule was brought to the OTC by his father and Sule will spend the rest of his days at the OTC.
Sule is extremely smart, Sister Elizabeth makes sure that he will have the best possible education so that he can have a bright future.
Meet Angelina. She is 12 years old and was brought to OTC as a young girl because she could barely hold her head up and has little to no use of her legs.
Angelina has hydrocephalus; her head is abnormally large and she often has to have water drained from her head.
She is able to use her arms to maneuver her wheelchair but that is only after holding her head up to just the right angle so that she can see where she is going.
Angelina is a beautiful girl now coming to the age of puberty and needs love, care and support, physically and emotionally.
Meet 15 year old Sakina. Sakina contracted Cerebral Malaria as a two year old girl and survived! She lost both of her legs and her left arm to the disease, which true to her nature, she has artfully hidden behind her back. She was brought to the OTC because the amputations required so much maintenance as a growing girl. Her mother never came back for her. Sakina is graceful, dances like a professional, and is an excellent student, applying herself academically in her hopes to one day secure a future for herself.
Inshira is a six year old little girl who was the first to run up and climb up into our arms when we arrived. She is a love sponge, and we did not mind at all.
Inshira was born without the bottom section of her arms, she does have a couple of fingers on the end of her appendages. She was brought promptly to the OTC when she was a baby. Children born without arms are at a high risk of being smothered by their mothers as this specific disability is believed to be a curse. She's one of the lucky ones who was given up rather than murdered.
This girl cannot be stopped, she's in the center of all the action at the OTC. She is also to faithful and loyal to her buddies without functioning legs. She would never let one of her friends in a wheelchair struggle up a hill, she would be there to push them until they made it to the top.
My heart broke one morning while playing with Inshira. She was riding a bike, hit a rock and lost her balance. She caught her fall with her chin. She has no arms, and takes so many more risks just living life, she's a hero.
THis is Zack!
Zack is an incredible 9 yr old boy who has overcome so many obstacles in his short life.
Zack was born without tibias and was taken to the United States as a 12 month old without his parents to receive surgery to amputate just above his knees so that he could be fit with prosthetics.
He returned after a year and his mother joined him at the OTC for physical therapy and to learn how to care for him. After a month she was too overwhelmed and left him and never returned.
We had the privledge of giving these two legs to Zack during our visit and he broke them in right away.
Zack does not let his limitations limit him at all. He knows how to get around anywhere with or without his legs on. He has a big heart and cares for all the kids like a big bother would. Zack goes to a wonderful school and hopes to be a banker someday.
Meet Kofi, the lead drummer in the African drum band at the OTC. Upon first glance it may be easy to miss his incredible story hidden behind the glimmer in his eyes and his bright smile.
At the age of 6 years old, Kofi’s father died, his mother unfit to care for him and his two siblings as the “town crazy,” so consequently his grandmother, unwilling to take on the responsibility, sold them into forced labor for the equivalent of $10.00 each.
Kofi was purchased by a fisherman, forced to the grueling task of pulling in fishing nets until one day he slipped and fell while working, breaking his back. The fisherman took him to the “town healer,” but refused Kofi any further treatment because of the cost. Kofi was in constant pain and while unable to pull in fishing nets was forced to dance for the fisherman after work hours.
Through government intervention, Kofi was sent to the OTC where his back was repaired. He is thriving at the OTC as a student, and drummer, his body growing but his back unable to. Though he is still in pain, Kofi pushes through as a shining example of determination and perseverance against all odds, for the other children at the OTC.
THis is Ella
Ella is like the little mother or the big sister of the OTC. She is a joy bringer as well.
Ella has big dreams to live in New York City someday, but for now she lives at the OTC full time.
Ella's arms and legs work just fine. She has extreme difficulty using her hands and she has also has severe speech issues.
She was born in Lebanon and brought to the OTC by her grandmother. Her family has money, they just don't want to use any of it taking care of Ella.
Ella's family has become the people at OTC and she takes on a lot of chores to keep the home running smoothly. Ella is attending an excellent school where she hopes to get a great education that will take her to the Big Apple :)