NAIROBI, Kenya — Day 2 continued the excitement of Day 1 for the Crutches 4 Africa team, which includes Mohave High School students Madelynn MacDonald and Dylan Boyd.
Boyd is making his second trip in the Interact Club-sponsored endeavor, serving this year as an adviser after being chosen a year ago as an ambassador of the program conducted under the auspices of Rotary International.
“We helped children as young as 2 years old and a woman as old as 102,” MacDonald said. “This made it all more exciting to be working with people of all ages today.
“The focal point of today was able to go to a school for disabled kids. We got to hang out with them as they led us around, and they were so excited, always wanting to hold our hands and play games.
“Another interesting part of the school is that we got to learn how kids with disabilities are treated here since there is a stigma around them,” MacDonald said. “We learned that kids were hidden under the bed, put into a teeny space, and sometimes tied up, so other people wouldn’t notice them. They weren’t allowed out of the house, even to go to school.
“This disability school teaches parents about their kids disability and how to treat and appreciate them. They also have a factory and a cafe employing mothers with children with disabilities as most employers think of the mothers as a burden as well.”
All of the volunteers’ time was not spent at school, although that did occupy a majority of the day.
“Besides the school, we were able to deliver more mobility devices around Naivasha,” MacDonald said. “One of our favorite drop-offs was a walker to a 102-year-old woman. As soon as we walked up, she started crying happy tears and one of the women with her said even if she died today, she would die happy as her children (us) had visited her.
“The lady also did a musical sound that represents excitement and thankfulness, and even with her age, danced multiple times.
“We also visited a girl who had meningitis when she was a younger, and was in a coma for a year. She was super excited to get a new wheelchair and the parents were very grateful. She had been crawling on the ground for 14 years. Her parents had to carry her to the hospital for the entire time.
“Now, everyone has more freedom. Not only did we work, we got to visit the factory that employed the moms of disabled kids. It was amazing to be able to meet some of those mothers and see what they do to support their kids and the school.”
MacDonald said the experience already is having an impact, both on the residents of Kenya and the American volunteers.
“Today’s experience allowed us to not only help people, but understand the stigmas that surround people with disabilities in these areas,” she said.
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