Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Mission Congo - The movie!

I can't believe it has been almost 3 months since I returned from the Congo. Where has the time gone?!

I've been busy watching through all the footage I filmed on my video camera during my trip and have finally finished editing a short movie that shows some of the highlights of the trip and also shows the main orphanages, schools and clinics I visited. You'll see the big differences between those that are relatively well funded and those that are desperately in need of financial support.

I hope you enjoy watching it and if you have any questions or comments then please message me!



Friday, 25 July 2014

Pineapples, bananas and milk for the orphans of Beni...

This week we have organised another food drop for the orphans of Beni. As usual we have provided them with basic items such as rice, beans, maize, cassava and oil but none of these foods are particularly high in vitamins which the orphans need to stay healthy so we also bought bananas and pineapples which are full of vitamins A, B and C and milk powder for the little ones so they can grow strong bones.

Roda in particular needs to get as much calcium and vitamins in her diet as possible to help her as she continues to receive medical treatment to get her to walk. You can see in the next 2 photos how much stronger her legs look and she is finally able to sit up straight on a stool instead of sitting on the floor with her legs all twisted out to the side of her.

She is making great progress with her treatment and is due to go back to the clinic in Butembo for a follow up consultation in early August so we will keep you updated of her progress.

In the mean time we are working with local NGO 'REACH Italia' to create and financially support a project that will enable Mamma Noella to earn enough money to be able to provide food for the orphans each week instead of having to rely on donations. More info to follow soon...

Sunday, 6 July 2014

A wonderful update on Roda...

Who remembers Roda, the little 2 year old girl at the orphanage in Beni who couldn't walk or even stand when I first met her back in April? Here is a photo of her the first day I ever saw her with 2 other orphans, Joseph and Exalice. I remember she was sat on the ground with her legs twisted to the side in an unnatural position. When I picked her up her little legs were wobbly like jelly and as I tried to stand her up her legs just crumpled beneath her and flopped to the side...

I was so concerned about her and what her life would be like if she was never able to walk that I insisted we took her to a special clinic for people with disabilities in Butembo. This clinic has doctors that are experienced in treating children with disabilities and helping them learn to walk, as best they can, sometimes with aids such as walkers and crutches.

Because the clinic was a few hours drive away and Roda would need to stay there to be treated every day, the mother of the orphanage, Mamma Noella, had to leave the rest of the children behind and go and stay with Roda in Butembo for 2 months. It has been a tough time for everyone but we continued to support both Mamma Noella & Roda and also the rest of the children in the orphanage by making regular food drops both in Beni and in Butembo.

During the 2 months at the clinic, Roda received daily massage therapy and also spent a lot of time tied to a standing board which, though rudimentary in its design, is a great way to strengthen her legs to enable her to stand and support her own weight.

Here is a photo of her tied to the standing board:

And here is a photo of her during her physiotherapy sessions with her 'mamma', Mamma Noella:

I'm very pleased to announce that after 2 months in Butembo Mamma Noella and little Roda have now returned to Beni and everyone has been reunited at the orphanage. The best news is that the 2 months of a high calorie diet and daily treatment of massage therapy and standing board have worked well and Roda can now stand and her legs are strong enough to support her own weight.

Here is a photo of Roda at the clinic in Butembo standing up and holding on to the side of a wheelchair:

Kakule told me yesterday that if you hold Roda's hands she is now starting to throw her leg forward which is the beginning stage of starting to walk so the doctor in Butembo is very hopefully that in time and with continued treatment, which she will now receive in Beni, Roda will one day be able to walk.

Hearing that news and seeing the photo of Roda standing up is absolutely wonderful and I am so thankful to all the doctors who have worked so hard to help her and to all of you who made donations that meant we could pay for her care and treatment. 

Roda will continue to visit the clinic in Butembo, starting off with monthly visits, so they can monitor her progress. They say that she won't need a wheelchair although she will need a walker to aid her as she continues to get stronger and learn to walk and this is something that we are now trying to find, raise funds to buy and send to her. 

If anyone would like to help or make a donation to support our work then please contact me through our facebook page: