We spent much of our free time last week gathering stories for Mosaic International to use during their new fundraising program. They wanted a one-page story about Charlie from Msaranga. We were given the task of finding the details of his story and sending it to Mosaic International. We were able to accomplish this goal, but it was quite the task!
We drove to Msaranga this past Wednesday to speak with Charlie and his mother. They both knew that we would be coming to talk with them. We arrived at Msaranga but Charlie and his mother were not there. We waited for an hour or so, but they did not show up. We decided to go to their home to conduct the interview.
Charlie’s home is not far from Msaranga center, but it was far enough for us to have to drive to reach him in a timely manner. We arrived at Charlie’s house and saw him sitting in his wheelchair outside of his two-room mud and stick home (see below for a photo of Charlie). His mother was cooking and cleaning the house and his siblings were playing around him.
We conducted the interview and gathered the information that Mosaic wanted. Once we were done, Genevieve (BCC’s Education/Health Coordinator)ask ed Charlie’s mother why Charlie was not at the center. His mother said that someone had adjusted Charlie’s wheelchair so that it would fit him better, but that the wheelchair would not work now.
We decided to take a look; she was right. Someone had adjusted Charlie’s foot rest forward, but it was so far forward that they stopped the front wheel from turning. John made a few quick adjustments and Charlie’s chair was ready to go! We asked if we could take Charlie to the day center and his mother agreed. We said that we would take Charlie in the car but that his mother had to come later with the wheelchair so that he could make it home. His mother was delighted!
We put Charlie in the vehicle and he was instantly excited! Charlie has probably been in a vehicle fewer than 10 times in his life. He enjoyed the ride to Msaranga so much; it was very fun to watch! Once we arrived at Msaranga center, John carried Charlie inside. As soon as John and Charlie walked through the door, the Msaranga children yelled his name with enthusiasm! The day center staff and children began singing a song to welcome Charlie to the day center.
Charlie was so happy to be back at the day center!
Charlie is 17. Before he started attending BCC, he spent most of his time outside under a tree, or locked inside his mud and stick home so that his mother could work as a day laborer. His father left the family when he learned that Charlie had a disability. Charlie did not interact with other children or with his mother for most of his life.
These days, Charlie plays with other children. He follows simple instructions and he hums along while the other children sing. He no longer spends his days locked inside his mud and stick home or under a tree while his mother works. It was clear to see that BCC had increased Charlie’s quality of life in countless ways.
It is no wonder that Charlie was so happy to go to the day center.