A little while back, CURE was invited to help with a clinic put on by the First Lady of Kenya. While there, we met a lovely nine-year-old named Ndanu. Ndanu has spina bifida, a condition that prevents her from walking and requires her to be carried or pushed in a wheelchair. While at the clinic, she met the First Lady and the First Lady promised her a wheelchair.
And that’s where our story begins: Ndanu’s wheelchair was delivered to CURE. Then, we got to take it to her!
The morning started early, so early that it was not yet light. As we drove, rain splattered the van’s windshield. The journey was long, almost seven hours. As we got closer, the countryside turned into gentle rolling hills dotted with baobabs and rows of cultivated plants.
It took some time to find Ndanu’s house. Vehicles and people are rare in the area where she’s from, so we drove around and stopped several times to ask for directions from the people we did find. Finally, we saw it: the giant old baobab next to the road. Then, we saw Ndanu’s mom. She climbed into the vehicle and helped direct us to their home as we drove through the bush.
We arrived and spent some time visiting with Ndanu and her family. Then, the big moment arrived: it was time to bring out the new wheelchair. Before this, Ndanu’s father showed us her old wheelchair. The wheels were thin, the fabric seat torn, and the footrest was a sort of wooden slab. Out of commission was an understatement. The chickens enjoyed using it as a resting place.
Ndanu’s new wheelchair had a comfy seat, tough rubber wheels, and a footrest for each foot! It took some time to adjust the height of the wheelchair to specially fit her, but once it was all ready to go, she got to enjoy it! She rolled herself around her family’s compound. Then, her siblings and family pushed her around.
Her mother used to carry Ndanu several kilometers to school—as in, several kilometers one way. Now, we are hopeful that her friends will be able to push her in her new wheelchair. This will give her mom more time to dedicate to farming. One of the crops she grows is watermelon. Recently, she sold three truckloads of watermelons and raised enough money to take Ndanu to be treated at a children’s hospital near CURE Kenya that specializes in hydrocephalous and spina bifida treatment. She also used the money to pay off the debt she had accrued at the children’s hospital, and then she was also able to use the money to pay for Ndanu’s current treatment!
Ndanu’s dad carried Ndanu around the day we were there, and even held her while she was being shown her new wheels. After we’d finished, Ndanu’s parents took us for a tour of their farm. Ndanu’s dad climbed high into a tamarind tree to get fruit for us. They sent us back to CURE with greens from their farm, too.
Ndanu’s family was so very grateful for her new wheels. We took some video while we were there, and Ndanu said, “Thank you for my bicycle!”
This was just a moment in time. A day. A few hours really. But with a bit of planning, we made it all work. This trip could impact Ndanu and her family for years to come. We’re grateful to have played a small part!