A young boy with twisted legs. An old horse with a twisted
pelvis. Neither was expected to walk again. But their story has a twist of its own.
I was riding my horse Bob when I came to Gwame's house. Bob was an old horse who had been slightly handicapped by trying to jump over a six-foot-high fence. He didn't make it but hit the top of the chain link and flipped over. His knee popped out of joint and his pelvis was twisted. Somehow, he recovered enough to not only walk, but trot and gallop. The accident also made him gentler. Every once in a while, though, Bob still thinks he's a young stallion and he wants to race.
Today was one of those days.
I'd finished work early at the hospital and took Bob out to the river. We rode across the African plain at a slow gallop. There are no giraffes, elephants, zebras or lions. The local villagers hunted them all down years ago. The only dangerous animals are snakes and hippos.
After arriving at the river, I carefully looked up and down to make sure there were no hippos and then took a long swim. The day was hot and the water felt cool. I got out and got back on Bob. Bob had just eaten the only green grass to be found in the dry season here in Chad so he had a lot of energy. He took off at a mad pace. The wind was whipping in my hair and I was holding on for dear life.
We finally slowed down as we entered the village of Béré. Gwame's house is just on the outskirts. His house is made of mud bricks with long bundles of straw tied together for a roof. Around the house is a mud brick wall surrounding a courtyard. In the courtyard a bunch of chickens run around. There are also a few goats, two cows and a horse tied up to a pole. The horse stares at Bob wondering what it must be like to be free. There is also a round mud brick storage bin with what looks like a chimney coming out the top. It has been placed three feet off the ground on piles of sticks. That's so the rats can't eat the grain stored inside.
Troy wanted to help. So he found some friends back home in the USA who gave money for Gwame. We took him to N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, and got him a passport. Then, we sent him to Kenya to the CURE hospital to be treated. The CURE hospital does surgery on kids who have bone problems or who are crippled.
There they cut one of Gwame's bones in each leg and twisted his legs back into the right position. Then they put both legs in a heavy plaster cast for two months. Gwame came back after one month. He had eaten a lot of food in Kenya and now was a chubby little dude.
Six weeks after he came back, we took off his casts. He was scared and cried a lot. We tried to get him to walk but he was weak and frightened. He wobbled a few steps and then had to be carried home by his mom. Maybe the surgery didn’t work.
But today, a few months later, as I ride up to Gwame's house on my horse, Bob, Gwame comes running out to meet me with a huge smile on his face. There is no limp. His eyes are bright. He holds his arm high above his head with anticipation all over his face. I lean down holding my hand out and he slaps it a big "five".