We hitched a ride out of the already rural town of Chwele to find Emily’s home. Unfortunately, she wasn’t home. So like many other times in Africa, we waited under the shade of a nearby tree.
Eventually Emily came home, opened the door and welcomed us in where we found her daughter in bed. The whole time we were waiting, her daughter was inside, and had been for many, many years.
Emily’s daughter has hydrocephalus, a condition that results in a build-up of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain. This is a common condition in developing countries that is preventable if properly treated early on. Unfortunately, that’s not the story here.
Emily’s daughter is now 14 years old although she hardly looks it. Due to the weight and pressure of her head, she is unable to move and is losing brain functionality.
Evelyn, the founder of West Specials School in Kenya, cares deeply for Emily and her daughter. She spoke with a fond heart of coming here every once in awhile to seek ways that she could provide help and support.
Having a child like this in Kenya is a tremendous liability. It takes extra care, extra money, and may at times seem like a waste. As we spoke to Emily about her daughter, she admitted that it was a terrible burden to have. You could see the pain in her eyes. However, despite all of that, she smiled as she looked down at her daughter and picked her up for a hug.
Emily’s situation is not rare. Her story of trials is told by many mothers across Kenya and the world. She knows her life and her daughter’s life are difficult because of this situation. Yet despite the difficulties, her daughter still is valued and loved. This care is unique to the culture that surrounds kids with these types of disabilities. Emily’s story is rare because of her unconditional love for her daughter.