You Are Not Welcome Here

not-welcome-here“Your son is no longer welcome here,” the school told Grace Wanjiru.

Grace has lost count of the number of times she has been summoned by her son’s school teacher, asking her to take him home because of his incontinence.

Seven-year old Alex was born with a condition referred to as spina bifida, a neural tube defect in which part of the spinal cord protrudes through the spinal column resulting into impairment. Like Alex, most children born with the condition often suffer from complications such as bladder and bowel incontinence even after surgical intervention mostly because of nerve damage. As a result, Alex often spent most of his time in school isolated and alone. The stigma and isolation has not just affected him emotionally but also academically.

“He was always excluded from most of the class activities, because his fellow classmates could not stand the smell,” Grace tearfully explains.

Alex does not only have trouble controlling his bladder and bowel, but also hasn’t had surgery to help repair the defect on his lower back. His mother recalls the difficulty she has had seeking treatment for Alex. Nevertheless, this mother of three kept struggling to care for her son – hoping that something could be done to help him.

Grace earns a meager income by doing odd jobs in her neighborhood and has to depend on her parents for additional support. Despite numerous unsuccessful efforts to raise funds for Alex’s surgery, Grace never gave up hope. When she recently learned about BethanyKids, Grace quickly made arrangements to bring Alex to Kijabe Hospital. BethanyKids surgeons evaluated Alex and immediately admitted him for surgical care.

We met Alex in the ward, looking a bit sad and weary, an intravenous tube dripping fluid into his arm. We learned that he had not eaten anything from the previous day in preparation for surgery. When we asked him what he would like to become when he grows up, he answered with a big smile, “Teacher!”  His mother smiled too, perhaps wondering why her son wished to become a teacher after having had such a terrible experience in school.

Grace has no idea who will pay for her son’s surgery, but is grateful that her son is finally getting the treatment she has been seeking for over the last couple of years. She is thankful that she has at least found a place where the physicians do not just treat, but also love and deeply care for their patients. Her prayer is that Alex will quickly recover so that he can be accepted at school, play with other children, and live a normal, happy life.

To date this year, BethanyKids has provided partially or fully subsidized surgery for 1249 African children like Alex. Without the financial support of ministry partners and donors, BethanyKids would not be able to provide the life-changing, often life-saving surgical treatment and medical care these children need.

Your gift of any amount will a have direct impact on the lives of children like Alex. Please consider becoming a BethanyKids supporter or Faith Partner today.