Guy in Burundi

Jacqueline’s experience of giving birth to her son was anything but usual. This young mom in her teens went into labor around midnight. Not too unusual. Babies often come late in the night. But in her remote village, Jacqueline had no way to get to the nearest health center at that hour. She had to walk more than an hour in the dark to give birth to her son, Guy.

After Guy was born, it was discovered his one foot was twisted. No one at the health center knew anything about this condition or where to get treatment. Jacqueline was discouraged and cried uncontrollably when she realized her son would face a lifetime of disability.

There was no lack of opinions and advice for this mom. One grandma said there was no solution. Another relative said Guy was born with clubfoot because Jacqueline had made fun of her brother who also was born with clubfoot that went untreated. But Jacqueline’s dad was determined to find treatment for his grandson. He could not bear to see another relative live with this defect.

Friends did give Jacqueline one good piece of advice. They told her to go to Ruyigi Province, a more populated area where treatment might be available. So eager was Jacqueline to find treatment that she went knowing she had no money to pay for the trip back home.

Arriving in Ruyigi, Jacqueline unknowingly passed by Rema Hospital where the Hope Walks partner clinic is located. Instead, she went to the public hospital that did not offer treatment. But here, a nurse who knew about the clinic sent Jacqueline back to Rema. It was her last hope.

After all of the despair, imagine how amazed Jacqueline was when the parent advisor told her Guy’s treatment would not cost her anything and that they would be able to help her with transportation costs to the weekly visits.

Things were looking up for Jacqueline who was dealing with all of this on her own. Guy’s father was forced to leave for another country to find work because his small farm’s harvest of beans, maize and sweet potatoes was down. After just the first cast, Jacqueline could see improvement in Guy’s foot.

“When the first cast was removed, I was very encouraged by the quick change I saw,” Jacqueline said. “So, if I see a family having a child with clubfoot, I will encourage them to reach out to the clinic for treatment since I myself have experienced treatment for my son.”