Hope and Transformation in Tanzania: Obed’s Clubfoot Story

February 13, 2018

Life in Kamanga village is challenging, especially for children born with clubfoot. Although only ten kilometers from the bustling port city of Mwanza, Tanzania, the villagers from Kamanga face many difficulties. Sustenance depends on income earned by fishing on Lake Victoria, educational opportunities are few, and access to medical care is limited.

For 15-month old Obed, who was born in Kamanga, there was an additional obstacle: he had bilateral clubfoot.

Obed’s parents relied on the often unsteady income they earned from fishing and struggled to provide for Obed’s care. They even kept the child hidden away after he was born. Obed’s father refused to allow the mother to seek treatment for the baby, believing it would be too expensive for the family. Obed’s mother set out on her own with a small amount of money she had saved and went to nearby Mwanza to seek help from her own mother, Obed’s grandmother. In Mwanza, Obed’s mother learned that there were other children who shared her son’s condition and not only could her child be treated, but his treatment would be free thanks to MiracleFeet’s work in Tanzania.

Obed's grandmother holds him during a clinic visit

Unfortunately, during this time Obed’s father, who had stayed behind in their village, abandoned the family. Obed’s mother, distraught, took Obed with her and returned to the village to look for her husband. When it became clear that her husband would not reunite with his family, she too abandoned Obed. A neighbor found Obed and cared for him, but the boy contracted malaria from being left outside.

Despite these difficulties, Obed’s grandmother is working hard to write him the happy ending he deserves. A village elder contacted Obed’s grandmother and she took the child in. She cared for him while he recovered from malaria, and began taking him to the clubfoot clinic again. Although he missed several clinic days, Obed resumed treatment once he had fully recovered from malaria. His feet were successfully corrected and he is now in the casting phase. Most importantly, young Obed has been able to receive the love and care he needs from his grandmother. He is now able to play with other children, and enjoy a childhood free of the disability caused by untreated clubfoot.