I want to really introduce you to the beautiful twins, Theracia (girl) and Elisha (boy) and let you see why they are staying at Neema House. I will say that having a part in the decision about whether the twins stayed at Neema House or went back to the village with their mother was very difficult. The choice is between being able to offer life changing medical care while separating a family verses keeping the family together while insuring that the children would lead significantly more difficult lives among a people who already live fantastically difficult lives. In the end, the decision was actually made by Naha’s uncle and caregiver. He is her caregiver and decision maker because Naha is a women in a Masai village without a husband, and therefore does not get to make her own decisions, even regarding her children. The uncle decided that the twins would stay at Neema House. I cannot say that I disagree. I think that they will be able to thrive and to return to their family fully able to walk and be independent, something that was not likely otherwise. We would have gladly had Naha stay at Neema indefinitely, but she was very anxious to get back to her village. She can be with her other children, her mother and people who spoke her language. So we took Naha back to her family, loaded down with food and new clothes and shoes, gifts for her three older children, a bright red Bible to read and new faith to grow. I am kicking myself because I did not think about buying her a solar lantern until after we left the village. Next time, that will be one of the things I take to her.
Now I want to really introduce you to the twins, Theracia and Elisha.
Theracia is on the left and Elisha is on the right. Can you see the difference between their weights? It is the custom, born of not enough to eat and frequent multiple births, to feed the strongest child first and give the weakest the remainder. Theracia was definitely the stronger child, less severe joint deformity, and therefore got fed by mama more than Elisha. Even when we were trying to make the decision about the future of the twins, it was always the plan that Elisha would stay with us, there just was not enough milk to go around. This custom was so ingrained, that even though Naha had access to supplemental formula, she frequently did not feed Elisha.
Sweet Elisha, who has totally taken my heart. He is very serious. Here you can see his indwelling thumbs on both hands. The thumbs are not mobile at all and his fingers are contracted (joints will not bend) at the first knuckles.
Here you can see how far his knees and elbows bend. He was actually stretching pretty good for this picture. Most of the time he stays curled up like a new born.
A close up of his knees being stretched. I can pull him a few more degrees than this, but it causes him pain. We are hoping to see the orthopedic doctor again next week. We will start the process of serials casting, which is the use of several casts applied to the joint to provide sustained stretch. You change the casts every week or two, putting on a new cast that stretches the joint a little farther. The problem is really twofold, the joint developed bent, therefore the muscle developed short. I am so hoping that the casting will get them both to a point where they can be independently mobile.
Theracia is being stretched. Her joints move more than her brothers, but are still in need of serial casting.
Theracia’s elbow extension.
Serious face. Please be praying that we are able to get the medical care that the twins need. Please pray that Naha and her children are safe in the village and that we will have wisdom in how to proceed. Both Matt and I feel that we have a responsibility to Naha and all of her children, not just the twins.