Lust for life despite a prosthesis

by Daria Napieraj/LKO, 2013/12/14

Time and again, the 26-year-old student Daria Napieraj from Duisburg has taken a break from her student’s life, in order to work as a media coordinator for humedica in different crisis regions of the world. At the moment, she is visiting the family sponsorship program on Haiti, together with humedica member of staff Maren Walter. On her blog she reports about her experiences in this country and with its inhabitants and of the work of humedica in this Caribbean island nation.

Day 4 and 5 on Haiti

The humedica clinic for prostheses and orthoses is a lively place. A visitor may find some calm in the waiting room, but as soon as he enters the workshop, he will be surrounded by bustling activity. That is, where the two Togolese Anani and Nyavo work. While the first one is a much appreciated physiotherapist, Nyavo is training the four Haitian apprentices. They do not only manufacture the prostheses and orthoses themselves, they also fit them and customize them.

Sometimes, there are up to five patients in this workshop, who are being cared for parallelly by this well-trained team. One of the youngest patients who visit the clinic today, is Emanuela. The twelve-year-old girl could be saved from the debris of her parent’s home after the earthquake.

But the injuries at her leg were so important, that it had to be amputated. Today she has come to the workshop in order to have her new prostheses customized.

Emanuela’s family has had a hard time since the earthquake. One of her five brothers and sisters died in the debris of their house, another child had been injured so seriously, that it still needs special care and lives with relatives in the Dominican Republic.

Despite all this, Emanuela is a real sunshine. Even if she has to wait for four hours in the clinic, whilst her prosthesis is being modified and customized, she doesn’t lose her high spirits. Repeatedly, she is laughing and singing and with her jokes she keeps the apprentices on their toes.

The next day, we visit Emanuela’s family, as they are part of the family sponsorship program. Seeing us, the girl is beaming and listens intently to our discussion with her father. Finally, she accompanies us to our car and then she runs back home quickly, jumping over rough and smooth.

Especially in a town like Port-au-Prince, where there are hardly any streets made from tarmac or smooth lanes, prostheses are immensely important. Thus, many people have the possibility to move autonomously and children, like Emanuela can play around with their friends again. So they can express their immense lust for life not only by laughing and singing, but also by running and jumping.

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