Chisomo was one of CURE’s very first patients when BEIT CURE Malawi first opened its doors in 2002. Born with bilateral cavovarus foot, she had several operations throughout 2003 for her condition. Fourteen years later, she’s come back to CURE Malawi to volunteer with our Spiritual Team! She will be counseling children with disabilities and their parents as they receive treatment. We are so happy to have Chisomo back and to see what God can do long-term through the physical and spiritual treatment we provide!
Because Chisomo has gone through what the other kids are experiencing (growing up with a painful disability, being mocked and teased at school and in villages, fearing surgery and the hard work of physiotherapy), she has a unique perspective to counsel and advise CUREkids.
“The first week I was here [volunteering], I was in the playroom and I told them my story: how I was unable to walk, how people mocked me. There was this boy, he just wanted to go home. I said, ‘Ah, what will you do there? You will continue feeling pain, not walking. Many things will happen to you. Stay until you receive help.’ So he’s here and still taking the medication. And he’s working hard: walking, going to physiotherapy. Because the first time [they sent him to physio] he refused, and I said, ‘No, you have to go there. Go there, have your physio and then come back and we will play.’”
In Malawi, there is a lot of stigma around disabilities, not only for the disabled child, but also for the parents, especially the mom. Oftentimes, they are considered cursed. Chisomo told me about a conversation that she had with one of the moms in the ward who had, unfortunately, taken these lies to heart; the mom was saying negative things about her child.
“I said, ‘How can you say this?’ She feels bad after giving birth to the child. I told her, ‘Don’t talk like this. Because you did not ask for this.’ When God is creating every child, every person, he has a reason for it. So, you need to have faith and fight for your child. When you worry, she also will worry. So, you need to have faith, you need to believe in yourself, you need to believe in God that everything will be okay.”
Dr. Jim Harrison, one of CURE Malawi’s founders, happened to come in for a visit; it was the first one in a long time and it was on one of the days Chisomo happened to be volunteering. She was so excited to see him again after many years! During her original interview she had said,
“I would like to thank Dr. Jim Harrison. I don’t know where he is, but thank you very much. You were the first doctor who welcomed me here with love. And I will always be appreciative of all the staff of CURE – the nurses, the cleaners – everyone was so wonderful then as they are now. And thank you to those people who have taken part for me to be operated on. Wherever you are, thank you very much! I’m here all thanks to you. And I will always be appreciative for the rest of my life.”