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Trading snake oil for true healing

Godwin was born in Benin in February of this year. His father is a cleaner in a small restaurant and his mother is unemployed. This young family had no idea their child would be born with a disability. But there was precious little Godwin with two twisted feet.

His parents, in their early 20s, sought advice from family and their village chief. No one thought a hospital would be able to help so they were directed to the local traditional healer. After being given some herbs and asked to pay large sums of money, Estelle, Godwin’s mother, was increasingly skeptical. But thankfully, a cousin told the family about treatment at a hospital not too far away.

Still, Godwin’s father Martial was not convinced that treatment in the hospital was best for his son. After about a month of discussions, the parent advisor at the Hope Walks partner clinic at Bethesda Hospital persuaded the dad that this was best for Godwin. Estelle was surprised but pleased that her husband gave her permission to attend. Every Friday for nine weeks, clinicians gently manipulated Godwin’s feet and cast them into correct alignment using the Ponseti method.

Sadly, when Estelle and Godwin returned one day after a clinic visit, Martial was gone and had left a note that he was going to marry another woman. He blamed Godwin’s clubfoot on Estelle. Because she had no job, Estelle was forced to move in with a relative about 186 miles away from the clinic. With continued treatment in jeopardy, Estelle’s grandparents stepped in to make sure she and Godwin would be able to make the long journey.

Godwin is now wearing braces to keep his feet in a correct position and soon Godwin will be learning to take his first steps on straight feet. The family too is in the process of healing. The parent advisor made many phone calls to Martial to give him the true facts about clubfoot. His efforts paid off. Martial has returned home to his family and both he and Estelle are attending Bible studies once a week.

“It is beyond my expectations,” Estelle said about the result of the treatment. “I just pray that God will bless everybody who contributed to the treatment of my baby.”

 

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