I mentioned before that Mandella is walking again but I wanted to expound on how far he's come.
When I first saw him in August of 2011, he was sitting in his village against a fence and just watching us. My friend, Kate, and I had gone to do an oral interview with an old woman in that village. Throughout our interview, I would glance at the boy and I came to the conclusion that he looked pretty hopeless. Right before leaving that place, I asked what was wrong with him. The family told me he'd had an accident and had hurt his hips, making him unable to walk. I was immediately interested in finding him help. I asked the father to come get our wheelbarrow so he could bring the boy to our compound and we could take him to the Kaabong hospital. He came to get the wheelbarrow but the boy never returned. We waited...and waited...and waited.
We saw the father several more times and always asked about the boy but never got a good answer about why he wasn't bringing him. Finally in January of 2012, the father came to the clinic to get medicine for his headache. As questionable as this might be, I refused him medicine until he brought his crippled son. The boy showed up that weekend. We took him to Kaabong hospital and were told that they couldn't help him because their X-ray machine doesn't work. So, we decided to take him with us on our trip to Kampala a few weeks later. We took him to a good British doctor who examined him and knew right away that he had spinal TB. The TB just happened to manifest itself at the same time Mandella got an injury from being shoved through a hole in a mud house. This is why the family believed him to be suffering from the injury. And, praise be to God, the Kaabong hospital carries TB medications and distributes them for free to the community.
Mandella started his medicine right away and took a full six-months of treatment. When we left him in August of 2012, his back pain was gone and he had regained control of his urination. He could prop himself up on a stick to stand but could not walk yet.
This is the boy we came back to.
Although he is walking again, he is not yet fully healed. He has a weak right knee that hurts when he straightens it, so he walks with his knees bent. We've been doing some exercises and he's been practicing walking straight with a walker, but only time will tell if he is fully restored. I pray for God's hand to be on Mandella because life in Timu can be tough if you have a handicap.