Photos by Samuel Chege and Naphtali Foster
Meet seventeen-year-old Jecinta. Jecinta is a shy girl from central Kenya who loves being in the company of her friends. Playing volleyball is one of her favorite hobbies. She is the third born in a family of four children. In 2017, she was supposed to go into ninth grade, but due to financial constraints, she didn’t get to go.
When Jecinta came to CURE Kenya for surgery, her father, Isaac, accompanied her; he looked depressed and tired. I wished I had something in my pocket to give them. I would have first bought them cups of tea and mandazi (Kenyan donuts) from our cafeteria to eat before talking to them. Isaac told us Jecinta’s story.
Seventeen years ago, when Jecinta was born, her mother noticed that her feet looked unusual. As Jecinta continued to mature, her condition deteriorated. Her two feet twisted in the wrong direction. Her gait was also affected; she fell almost every time she walked. Due to lack of information and a lack of finances, the family did not receive any assistance. Her father informed us that people would promise to help but never followed through.
Jecinta’s mother was bedridden and had been told by the doctor to stay in the house. Jecinta’s father is the sole provider for their family and works as a casual laborer in people’s farms, where steady work is not guaranteed. Isaac went on to tell us how their church gave them a home on its campus after members learned about the family’s difficulties. Thankfully, since then, Jecinta’s mom has gotten better!
“I am eagerly anticipating the day when my daughter will walk upright and majestically,” Isaac shared with a smile. “We have gone through hurdles and tough times, with people taking advantage of us. But, I am happy that through Watsi, my daughter will receive treatment. May God bless Watsi and may God bless the CURE fraternity at large. I am impressed by their hospitality and their pleasantness.” (Watsi is a partner organization that helps fund surgeries.)
Jecinta was joyful and longed to be healed: “I would love to see my gait improved. That’s the only challenge that I am experiencing, apart from my education.”
Doctors informed Isaac and Jecinta that Jecinta had clubfoot. The good news was that it could be corrected! Surgeons performed a triple arthrodesis surgery to correct and align her feet. The operation helped Jecinta move around without much difficulty and alleviated her pain. It also significantly boosted her self-esteem, which will, in turn, make her more likely to pursue her dreams.
Jecinta has now fully recovered thanks to CURE Kenya. We have done our part to make sure that her feet are corrected, which she is happy about!
“I called unto God, and He answered me,” Jecinta shared. “Now my feet have corrected! The only part that is remaining is education. I am longing to go to school so that I can be equipped and prove to the world that indeed God is able and He is a provider. My parents cannot afford to pay for my school fees considering their nature of work and where we live for many years. I am hopeful that I will step foot in school.”
God heard Jecinta’s prayer. “Heavens opened,” sending the Garden Spot Village team from Pennsylvania. After meeting Jecinta, they volunteered to pay her tuition for the next four years!
We caught up with Jecinta when she was already back at school and asked her some questions about life after surgery:
Are you excited? “Yes,” she said with a deep sigh. “I thank God. This is like a dream to me. I just can’t believe I am in school with a uniform like other girls,” she said through tears. “I can also walk well thanks to Watsi and CURE. God bless the Garden Spot Village team for paying school fees.”
What lessons have you learned? “I have learned to be patient and to wait upon the Lord,” she told us and then quoted Isaiah 40:31: “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength,” she said. “I didn’t know that at one time I will walk well,” she continued. “I had not even thought of going back to school considering our family background, but I have learned that what is impossible to man is possible to God.”
What are your expectations? “I expect to have a smooth flow and also to work hard and obtain good grades,” she told us.
Jecinta’s triumphant tale is made possible through the partnerships that CURE has cultivated with organization’s like Watsi and volunteers like those from Garden Spot Village. When Christians come together to work toward a common goal, God is there in the midst of them. We are thankful for partners that endeavor with us to share the gospel and the love and hope of Jesus Christ.
And Jecinta’s story provides great encouragement to people who have lost hope! Job 14:7 says: “For there is hope for a tree; if it is cut down, it will sprout again and its tender shoots will not fail.”
We’re grateful for all of the hope that God has given Jecinta!