Posts Tagged Niger

Josh & Julie Korn: Hardworking hands

Hanahi, proud of his work.

Hanahi, proud of his work

Hanahi is a 3 year old boy from the town of Aguie. When he was 6 months old, he crawled into a pot of hot food and severely burned his hands and chest. He is an only child, and when his father saw that he was burned so badly, he divorced Hanahi’s mother and left them both. Hanahi and his mother moved in with his grandmother, and that is the only family he has ever known. His grandmother came with him to the hospital, and they both stayed over the course of a few months so that he could receive multiple surgeries on his hands.

Little Hanahi has more determination and drive than I’ve ever seen in a 3 year old. As I write this, I laugh to myself because I realize that I say very similar words about almost every kid I meet at the hospital. The fact is I’m blown away, time and time again at how much these kids endure and time and time again, by how extremely hard working and tirelessly ambitious they prove to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Josh & Julie Korn: Women’s Day

We recently celebrated Women’s Day at the hospital. As is tradition at the hospital, all the women get a matching pagne (the fabric they make their clothes out of), and they go get their own outfit made especially for the Women’s Day celebration. They get together and all help cook a meal together. We had pintade (guinea fowl) in a delicious sauce with french fries, and of course piment (spicy sauce). It was really fun to get to participate in it and to have an outfit made. I am always struck by how kind and welcoming our staff is, and it was great just hanging out together.

Here at the hospital (and everywhere else for that matter), women do so much work – so it was really nice to have a day to honor women and to celebrate them. Even though Leon is a boy, he was allowed to join us, and did his best to steal the show. Here are some pictures: Read the rest of this entry »

Josh & Julie Korn: Father & Son

There is a little boy at the hospital right now named Omarou. When he was very young (about 18 months), he crawled into a pot of boiling oil, and his hand was badly burned. Unfortunately, this is something that happens very often here in Niger. When you combine the fact that there are lots of babies (Niger has one of the highest birthrates in the world) with the fact that most people here cook over an open fire, the results can be devastating. Consequently, we see a lot of burn victims at the CURE hospital.

Read the rest of this entry »

Josh & Julie Korn: Mourja

jkjkMourja is a very tender-hearted girl. It’s rare to catch her without a smile on her face. The first few times Mourja came for art therapy sessions, she made very little eye contact with me and was very timid. When I would ask her what materials she’d like to use, she wanted me to choose for her.

Mourja was born with severe clubfoot in both of her feet. All her life she has gotten around by crawling on her knees. Her knees are calloused the way someone’s would be if they walked their whole lives without shoes. After her first operation, when she had two brand new casts on, we pulled out the paint, and she started painting on one leg while I painted on the other. This was the moment when the ice broke between us. She was sitting on a chair at the table and I got down on the floor so that I would be able to paint the bottom of her cast as well. I don’t think she was expecting that. Here I was, practically nose to toe, hunched over so that I could cover her cast in color. Read the rest of this entry »

Josh & Julie Korn: Larwan and Omarou

Larwan and Omarou have been coming together for joint art therapy sessions. There is a good dynamic between these two boys. They enjoy each other’s company and — not that this was the deciding factor in having them come together — it’s very easy for me to plop the two of them together on the wheelchair and get them over to my art therapy room. They’re both small, so it works nicely.

Also, both of them cannot walk. But don’t get me wrong, they can get wherever they need to go; they have their ways. Read the rest of this entry »

Something Wonderful: Togetherness

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Yesterday, Leron & I had the pleasure to chat with the entire staff of CURE Niger. They were a captive audience (required weekly meeting). Well, when asked to reflect on the last three years, my eyes welled up with tears. I recalled some of my first days here, when it was just Leron and the kids me. EVERYTHING was new and a bit overwhelming. Read the rest of this entry »

Josh & Julie Korn: Nigerian Winter Wear

Hannatou, the hospital social worker, does an amazing job with the patients, and especially their families, during their stay at the hospital. Many of the mothers who accompany their children get to participate in all kinds of activities like cooking, sewing, jewelery making, and knitting. One of the projects Hannatou does with them is knitting winter outfits for kids. Yes, they bundle up like they’re just about ready for a snow storm! Read the rest of this entry »

Something Wonderful: People

It has been about a month since my last entry. What a month it has been! I have been sorting through possessions (again) and continually sorting through thoughts and feelings. I am having a tough time finding the words. I think maybe reminiscing and going through photos may help me a bit. So, here it goes… Very soon, our family will leave our familiar, happy surroundings here in Niger to start all over again in the Philippines.

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A new place, new culture, new challenges, new people, new new new. I find myself in this weird “in between.” Read the rest of this entry »

Something Wonderful: Walking!

The other day I was caught off guard when a patient that I have never seen walking walked up and looked me in the eye. Moutella  had returned for physical therapy. As long as I have known him, he has had BOTH legs casted. Read the rest of this entry »

Josh & Julie Korn: Music therapy – Slovak style!

I am beyond ecstatic to have my parents here again. They came at exactly this time last year. And last year, before they took their trip out here, my dad said, “Liz, you have to take your accordion with you to play for the kids at the hospital.” My mom kind of laughed it off. He tried his best to convince her, but she had some valid reasons why she thought it was a bad idea. For example, it’s massive, weighs a ton, and it would have used up her allotted luggage space! So this year my dad was still set on the idea and devised a fabulous plan. He contacted everyone he knew, as well as the broader community grapevine email system, with a very specific request. He asked if anyone had a smaller (80 bass) accordion they’d be willing to sell or trade for another instrument. Sure enough, someone responded that same day! My parents met the couple and ended up exchanging my dad’s trombone for their perfect, hand luggage size accordion. Read the rest of this entry »