“You should go see the girl in a basket,” said one of the members of the parents' self-help group as Carrie was working with the group in the village of Abutia Teti. When Carrie arrived at the house, she met Mawunyo sitting in a blue plastic laundry basket placed in a dark room. Mawunyo, 17 years old, had been born with cerebral palsy, leaving her with very little use of either her arms or legs. The basket allowed her to sit without falling over. However, it meant that she spent much of her time at home with little to do. Nevertheless, Mawunyo is an outgoing girl who loves to listen to the people around her, and she learned a great deal just by paying attention to her surroundings.
Kekeli began to work with Mawunyo. First, she was assessed to determine what could be done to help her, especially in ways that would provide her with some education. But to go to school, Mawunyo would need a wheelchair. APF Ministries, Tema, agreed to donate a wheelchair, and Mawunyo was measured and fitted for the chair.
A wheel chair would be of limited use if she could not get it in and out of her house, so the next step was to build a ramp to her house.
But Mawunyo’s dream is to go to school, and Kekeli’s goal is to make that happen. Mawunyo has been measured for her school uniform and is waiting for the seamstress to finish it. Ask Mawunyo “what is your favorite thing to do?” and her reply is always “Go to school!”—even though she hasn’t attended school yet.
Getting to this point has not been a quick or easy task. Kekeli has had to earn the trust of Mawunyo’s parents and family, work with the local school and its teachers as well as the Ministry of Education, seek funds to pay for the wheelchair, the ramp, an aide to assist Mawunyo, the cost of her uniform and school fees-----and wait for all the pieces to come together.
Mawunyo's First Day of School
Ford and I met Mawunyo at home before she was to go to school. She was relaxing in her wheelchair when we arrived, and was happy with her decision that she would NOT go to school.