Stephanie’s Gift

Life in the Tanzanian village is hard. While it’s not the kwashiorkor picture of poverty I had expected, people do work hard to get by. As a foreigner, you start to become desensitized to the poverty after a couple weeks, but once in a while, you come across a story that really tugs at your heartstrings…

I met a boy in the village today who became paraplegic shortly after the death of his mother (the reason for his paralysis is unknown). Hi father had left them long before, so he is now under the care of his aunt and uncle. They have cared for his basic necessities, but they do not have the resources to support his disability. As a result, he spends the day crawling around his house. His knees have become so rough from the crawling that you can’t even straighten his legs for him. The one thing that the boy desires more than anything else is to go to school, but he does not go for shame of having to crawl the distance to school.

A couple of weeks ago, Stephanie (one of the guests at the hostel) found the boy and was moved buy a wheelchair for the boy. Because the wheelchair had to be delivered from another city, she left before she could give it to him, so my friends and I had the privilege to bring it to him. The smile on boy when he saw his new wheelchair was priceless. He was so excited to try it out for the first time, and all he could talk about was that he would be able to start school the following day.