The Story of Musah
Musah is a 8 year old boy that had been diagnosed with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus already at birth in Arusha were he received a shunt early in life.
With our wheelchair program Musah got a new wheelchair that allows him to reach school now. He is already able to do some steps on crutches and showing that to us he does that with the biggest smile in his face ever been seen.
Musah’s parents are not having a steady and secure income and both are living a very simple live in their 3 bedroom House with Musahs 3 siblings. The father is a priest and sometimes providing taxi services on his motorbike. They are having a small farm to harvest vegetable to sell those on the local markets for a small family income. But both parents love their children and Musah especially and are willing to do whatever possible to help him on his way. The father tells us after surgery at Seliani they had been sent to Haydom for follow up care and through the program the father tells us they have learned to take care of him and also to take him as he is and not as somebody different but very special. Musah is paralyzed and was not able to attend school without a wheelchair.
We would like to support the school as well as the teacher in initiating a mobile school transport. The purchase of a vehicle that will allow children such as Musah to be picked up and taken to school in the morning.
The father had no money to afford a special wheelchair for his son, with the wheelchair program Musah got a new wheelchair that allows him to reach school now. He is already able to do some steps on crutches and showing that to us he does that with the biggest smile in his face ever been seen. This was a heartwarming moment to all of us sharing this with him and his familiy in front of their small house without all open glassless-windows.
February 2020 ·
Little 8-year-old Musah shines whenever you see him. He came into the world with a hydrocephalus, was successfully operated on, supplied with a shunt, and has since been linked to the Haydom aftercare program. Musah can’t walk due to spinal cord damage. A year ago, he was completely still, sitting most of the time on a chair in the corner of space. His parents couldn’t afford a wheelchair. Now he owns a wheelchair and could go to school with it. However, the school road is more than four km away from home and the way there is inaccessible. Especially during the rainy season, there are always floods. The road becomes impassable for many people. Musah’s brothers and sisters visit the neighbouring school in the hills of Basotus.
Unfortunately for Musah it is inconceivable to master this climb daily with the wheelchair. Many children in Tanzania with a physical disability share Musah’s fate. For many, the way to school is unthinkable and cannot be managed without help. Transport is often lacking. Schools are often not wheelchair friendly, there are steps and obstacles everywhere.
With our mobility educator team David-Lisa-Maria, we all went out together to take a closer look at the school in Basotu. On the school grounds we were greeted with cheer by nearly 200 students who were just having their big break. The main attraction was David and Lisa in their wheelchairs. The kids had probably never seen anyone in a wheelchair before, not to mention white skin. Soon we were surrounded by laughing curious children. Everyone wanted to shake our hand once and, of course, take a look. David led to the joy of everyone, performing a few tricks with the Rollie and took advantage in front of everyone, dragging a large group of children across the schoolyard. Everyone was excited about so much entertainment and nobody wanted to go back to their class when the school bell rang. So the first contact with a wheelchair driver is super cool!
The teacher responsible was very open to our efforts to make Musah a place in the school class here. He proudly takes us across the grounds, shows classrooms in which up to fifty children per class can be found. But it soon becomes clear, a wheelchair will not be able to pass the steep steps at the front doors. The classrooms appear empty and empty. The plaster crumbled from the walls and some hand-painted posters seemed to be the only teaching material. Some torn notebooks are lying on the floor somewhere mindless. The toilets leave us speechless. 4 narrow boards with hole in the ground, also here no chance for a wheelchair or the possibility of catheter. They pondered together about removing a partition from Two Make One, and also showed their creativity and will here.
To our surprise, the teacher accompanies us to the house of the family Musah’s. On the way there we cross deep water and flooded road sections, it is unthinkable to drive a wheelchair through here.
A strong rainfall led us to quickly escape to Musah’s mud hut. There we stand tightly squeezed in the front room of the house, which consisted only of two bedrooms with one bed each. The windows were necessarily lined with cardboard to protect against moisture and wind. There was no furniture, at least a small wooden table and wooden chair, a few plastic chairs in the garden and two beds for parents and four siblings.
Musah sits in his wheelchair, the rain had attracted the flies that swarmed around his face in insolence. His feet were barefoot and without socks in the foot loops of his wheelchair, a warm jacket was missing in the cold, damp housing. In view of these housing conditions, all our efforts to initiate a school visit seemed so unrealistic. We discussed with the mother a possible morning school transport, no one in the neighborhood who could bring the child in the morning. The only solution is a rented room in the immediate vicinity of the school and someone who takes care of the child every week. The costs would be thirty euros a month, Musah would have enough space, three meals a day, 24-hour care and could visit the school every day.
While we were discussing with the mother, the teacher approached the child, lifted Musah out of his wheelchair to put him on the floor. He then sat down next to the child and began to draw letters into the earth silently and without words. Musah was supposed to be like him, and there was a scene that made my eyes cry. For the first time Musah’s little hand, guided by the teacher’s hand, still somewhat uncertain and rigid, wrote the letter “A" in the damp earth, accompanied by a big smile on his face.
We would like to support the school as well as the teacher in initiating a mobile school transport. The purchase of a vehicle that will allow children such as Musah to be picked up and taken to school in the morning. The teacher welcomed our idea and will address it at the next meeting.