HOPE springs eternal

We have recently welcomed a few men from Ghana, Germany and the Netherlands in Hand in Hand.

 A delegation of German and Dutch experts in the field of rehabilitation aids and technique led by the Ghanaian physiotherapist Charles Mensah came to examine some of our children. Sabine from Germany has taken Emmanuella’s situation to her heart and as a result this delegation of for example a representative of the German company Ottobock came to Nkoranza for a working visit.
We were able to discuss the possibilities (and limitations) of supporting Emmanuella (even) better with them. For us this certainly is not a new thing because we have dealt with this issue before. Up till now we have always allowed Emmanuella to develop her motor skills the best she can, to let her get the most out of her physique. That is why a wonderful, however vulnerable high-tech solution like an electrically controlled wheelchair has never been our choice. This pragmatic policy has led to the fact that Emmanuella has learnt to write with her mouth, that she can move easily and fast lying on the ground or on top of a table and that she can – relatively speaking – look after herself because of her good coordination of chin, mouth and shoulder.
Also James, Moses, Stephan and a few others are examined thoroughly that afternoon and we make an appointment to visit a new centre for rehabilitation techniques near Sunyani a few days later. This is the HOPE Rehabilitation Centre managed by Charles Mensah, which is not even officially open.
We are pleasantly surprised when we visit the HOPE Centre with its equipment and abundant supply of medical devices for the first time. On a Saturday, there is no other patient and they take ample time for our children that day. Plaster casts are being made for the ortheses of Moses and James, Stephan is given new calipers and braces with splints for both legs to be worn during the night. Moses is also provided with one for his arm and of course a well fitted plaster cast for something really special is being made for Emmanuella: a “shuffle-walker”!
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I can hear you say: “A shuffle-walker, what on earth is that?!”. Well, it is an unusual aiding device by which Emmanuella will be able to move vertically for a short distance and without help by bringing the weight of her body from left to right in the walker (“waddling like a duck” in an unfriendly manner of speaking). It is a little difficult to explain, so do have a good look at the pictures.
A week later we return to fetch all new devices, ortheses and a spreading splint for Wumpini. Driving up and down Sunyani with the children and caregivers is a treat in itself, the children are enjoying this little outing very much. This time also Baffo and Joe Emma are going along because then they will get to know the HOPE centre better so they won’t hesitate to call on them in the future if needs be.
One by one all children are fitted with their orthese or splint. A few small adjustments are being made and then everybody is happy and satisfied. Charles and Teus are notably proud of their work and rightly so. And …… still there is good news, because we understand that a German foundation led by Gisela will guarantee the costs, which is colossal. How wonderful, such warm sympathy and deep involvement crossing borders!
Back in PCC all children proudly show their new aiding devices and they have practised hard since then, always bearing a broad smile on their faces.
There is new hope for improved mobility of these children in the future thanks to HOPE and friends of PCC close and far away.
And we all know: HOPE springs eternal!