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Meet Munera

I wrote a couple of weeks ago about meeting the girl who was unable to walk and what a helpless feeling that was. After thinking about it and praying about it, I realized the situation might look helpless, but it certainly wasn’t. I had prayed for healing and will continue to pray for healing, but I also found out that there was a nearby hospital with a physical therapy unit that I could take her to. Her little brother, who also walks with a limp, came with us to get checked out as well.

They were two of the most pleasant children I have ever been around and got along with each other so well. We brought along a picture dictionary and some coloring books and crayons for them while they waited. They loved the dictionary, along with everyone else, and at one point we had to retrieve it from the adult doctors at the hospital so the kids could look at it again. After a little bit of prompting and encouraging, they also got into the coloring book. Picture books and coloring books are simply foreign concepts here and often kids don’t appreciate them as much as we think they will because they simply don’t understand them. But, these kids picked it up pretty quickly and seemed to have fun with it.

Munera and her brother, Abdurazac.

Getting the hang of coloring.

When we finally got to see the doctor, he pointed out what should have been more obvious to me – all of her joints were at least twice the size they should be. This joint problem is what is causing her back to be locked up and keeping her from walking. Because it is a joint issue, this hospital couldn’t help her but he referred me to another hospital where they could do some tests on her. In the meantime, I asked if they could give her some crutches so she would at least be able to move around independently.

Since this is Africa, we had to come back another day to get the crutches – they make them there at the hospital and the guy that makes them had closed the shop for lunch. Today, we were able to take the crutches to her house. Thinking like a true American, I wondered whether these crutches were a good thing for her or a bad one? Does getting crutches signify to her that she will in fact never be able to walk on her own again? Does she think about maybe being embarrassed because she has to use crutches? Or is this a wonderful step of freedom for her? I’m not sure what kind of place these questions have in this society. In general, they don’t process things and approach life the way we do. Often, they live a life consigned to fate. What happens, happens. You don’t ask why. You don’t get mad. This is just life. While I can see many pros and cons to this approach of life, it makes it difficult for me to know how to approach what I consider to be sensitive situations.

Munera is a very stoic little girl and like most people here, does not seem to ask that proverbial “Why?” question like most Americans would. She seems to just accept it as it is and move on. When we got to her house, she came to greet us. She moved by drawing her knees up to her chest and using her arms with her hands on the ground to swing the rest of her body. I have seen many crippled people get around this way during my time here, but I had not seen her do this yet.

I can’t say if she is happy or not to have received crutches. She seemed happy. I don’t truly know whether or not this will help her life. She did say that she would be able to get to school now. Even though I’m not sure how she feels about it all, I am grateful to have met her and to have had the chance to attempt to help her and have the privilege of praying for her.

Playing around with pictures the day she got her crutches.

Munera and her new crutches.

Please join me in praying for healing for Munera and salvation for her family.

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