It’s been a little over one year since Seratiani, whose leg was amputated in 2016 due to severe Elephantiasis, received her prosthetic leg. After several months of physical therapy to learn to walk on her new leg she returned to her village in May 2017 with her new leg and freedom to roam without crutches. And roam she did! So much she wore out her prosthetic foot.
In February my husband Jay and I traveled to her new home, very much off the beaten path, to check on her and her family. Although her prothetic leg was holding up well to her demands, her foot was cracked and beginning to fall apart. In March she returned to Bagamoyo and CCBRT Hospital in Dar es Salaam to be fitted for a new foot. Her new foot was ready in early April, just as the rainy season began making it impossible to travel to her village. The “roads” were challenging enough during
the dry season, in fact, in February we had to
ditch our car and walk the last few miles to reach her.
The rains came and left but the roads did not improve so it wasn’t until our summer ASFE Cultural Immersion trip that we were able to reach Seratiani.
It wasn’t easy getting there and required everyone’s help in clearing the “road” and maneuvering the cars just right but we eventually made it. Once again we surprised her by not only showing up with our American participants but also with her dear friend Zura from Kenya who had cared for her during her long hospitalization in Kenya in 2016.
It’s always amazing to get to spend time with Seratiani and see her big beautiful smile. Her daughter Ruth is growing up so fast and will be entering grade 1 next year. They have adjusted to their new home at her younger sister’s family’s village and have their own hut now very close Ruth’s primary school.
We got right to work on replacing her foot. As Zura removed the shoe her foot crumbled out in a pile of dust. There was nothing left but the peg and her shoe allowing her to walk. Replacing the foot was simple and visiting her family was wonderful but saying good bye was so difficult since her new home is such a challenge reach.
Seratiani is one of the most amazing woman I know and I am blessed to have her in my family’s life and to introduce her to people who travel with ASFE and who have been following her story. I look forward to my next visit and will definitely not wait so long to replace her foot!