The mystery of the special shoes

What would you do if you heard the cry of a baby in an old abandoned building?

That is exactly what happened when a seven-month-old baby was found in an abandoned building in Lusaka, Zambia. He only had the clothes on his back and he was wearing shoes that had a metal bar between them. No one knew what the shoes meant, or where he got them.

Well-wishers took him to the nearest orphanage where he was given a bath, food, and the name Gabriel. The mystery around the shoes was one that shocked staff at the orphanage. They had never seen anything like this before!

After asking around and looking at the baby’s feet, someone was able to advise them that Gabriel had a condition called clubfoot, and that two hospitals in Lusaka treat this condition and also give these free “shoes” out to children. (We call them Foot Abduction Braces.) It became clear that the baby was abandoned because of his disability and that his family had given up on him being clubfoot free.

Without hesitating, the lovely people from the orphanage brought Gabriel to Hope Walks in Zambia where they met our Clinical Supervisor, Erick, who was able to explain clubfoot and how it is treated. They were told that Gabriel’s feet had relapsed and that he needed casts again.

Gabriel is currently receiving treatment with us and has found a new home with people who bring him for treatment every week. We are still following his progress and are so glad that he is safe and protected!

—Story by Stu Wambulawae, Regional Communications Officer

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