The villagers called Abdul the „devil child“ because of his deformed, curled-in feet.
Although abandoned by his mother, Abdul’s father Simeon stood by his side. He knew that his baby had a medical condition - not one created by witchcraft. He dared to believe that his son could get an education and have a useful future in his community.
Determined to find medical treatment to correct his son’s clubfeet, Simeon visited many doctors but could not find anyone to help them.
One day, a radio jingle announced the arrival of Mercy Ships to assess people for surgery. Abdul and his father stood in line for an exhausting three days waiting to be seen. It was worth every second when Abdul received his appointment for surgery onboard the Africa Mercy!
At the HOPE Recovery Center, crew from around the world and patients with similar conditions embraced the father and son with kindness. Abdul and Simeon enjoyed the social interaction tremendously. What a refreshing change for Abdul, a young lad accustomed to rejection from birth.
Abdul’s first Ponseti treatment involved the application of heavy plaster casts to his legs to correct the position of his curled feet. The thigh-high casts positioned his legs in 90-degree right angles. This required Abdul to stay in a permanent „squat“ position for several months.
Abdul dreaded the cast changes. It was a lengthy procedure - but, in time, he formed endearing friendships with the physiotherapy team. His perseverance paid off. Finally, after many cast changes and corrections, Abdul was ready for the surgery to make his curled feet flat.
A few days later, Abdul returned to the HOPE Recovery Center in straight, short leg casts which made walking easier. He joyfully hobbled around on crutches with the other boys who received similar treatment on their legs. He had fun as they practiced walking together by playing games.
Angel, a physiotherapy team member, made foot shields to keep Abdul’s feet in the correct position in the shoes. However, the foot shields brought to light another problem - Abdul had no shoes because he had never been able to wear them with his twisted feet. This was the first time in his life he needed to have shoes!
Physiotherapist Nick expressed his joy over the boy’s progress. „Abdul is very special. I’m very proud of him. His first few steps were like a newborn calf, but now he’s walking with confidence. His future will be worlds apart from what it would have been before treatment - he would have been begging on the streets. Now, he will work, contributing to society, which gives him a bright future.“