Well, we are STILL in Lubumbashi, believe it or not. Which is part of the reason I haven’t really updated, because I’ve been doing a lot of the same things each day, so there isn’t too much new to report. But today I thought I would post a brief shout out to Project Emmanuel, which is comprised mostly of the two other American visitors (Brittany and Christina) been hanging out with since I’ve been here. They are visiting from the U.S., after spending a year working here 2 years ago. When they worked here, they taught at a school 4 days a week and worked at the Methodist Orphanage the other 3 days a week. They got to know and love all the kids, including a boy named Emmanuel (now 13), who was born without legs. Emmanuel has prosthetic legs here, but they are difficult to use and uncomfortable because they don’t bend at the knee. So, Brittany and Christina partnered with an organization in Canada (the name escapes me right now…) to provide Emmanuel with a needed preparatory surgery and new prosthetic legs. The last time they were in Congo, they made sure Emmanuel got his surgery, which he got at a clinic here in Lubumbashi that specializes in prosthetics and rehabilitation for legs, called Wote Pamoja. This time, they brought all the parts for his new legs to the clinic, where the doctors there worked very hard to construct his new legs. This is what their “project” has been for the past week.
Since I’ve been hanging around Lubumbashi, they have let me tag along with them to the orphanage. Today, I went with them and Emmanuel (and his helpers, John and Loshita) to Wote Pamoja. I have to say first of all that this clinic is very amazing—they do amazing work and the doctors there work very hard. Seventy percent of the people that go to the clinic are treated for free.
Today was a BIG day, because today Emmanuel’s legs were finished!! He got to try them on and walk around for the first time—a success that was years in the making. I felt that I was so blessed and lucky to be able to be there and see this. It was great and exciting! So I wanted to share along with some pictures:
Putting on his new legs:
|Putting on his new legs|
|Walking with his new legs for the first time|
|Emmanuel with his doctors as Wote Pamoja|
|The first thing he wanted to do was take a picture of his new legs :)|
Even though the “project” is named Project Emmanuel because it is inspired by Emmanuel, it is really about all of the kids at the orphanage here, and Brittany and Christina have done so much more. It’s really neat to be able to see other things that are going on here while I’m temporarily stopped in Lubumbashi. If you want to read more about Project Emmanuel, you can go here: http://www.projectemmanuel.org/index.html