A horrific, debilitating accident
Janviera remembers the afternoon poignantly – it was a Thursday, 23 October 2008. She recalls her children coming home from school a little late, that they sat by lamplight with their tutor, and that the kerosene ran out.
As Carole was the eldest child, she usually helped by refilling the lamp. That evening she began to pour the kerosene. The light was fading so Carole she called to her mother Janviera to take over pouring the liquid. Suddenly, the lamp exploded, and everything went black.
“I woke up on the other side of the room,” Janviera says. “I looked across the room and saw Carole. She was unconscious, and her school dress was still burning.” She grabbed a blanket, threw it across Carole’s body, and rushed her daughter to the hospital.
It was three weeks before Carole was able to eat any food as her mouth and eyes had been burned shut. Each day her dressings were changed, dead skin removed and ointment applied to the wounds. She was in extreme pain. At times her wounds would even stick to the sheets of her bed.
“We spent so much money on the treatment,” Janviera said. After three months of hospital care, Carole’s arm was still stuck; she was unable to extend it past a right angle due to the lingering burn injuries.
Looking forward to a better future
Janviera heard about Mercy Ships through a radio advertisement. Devoted to her daughter’s wellbeing, she no time in bringing Carole to Cotonou for an operation onboard the Africa Mercy. The surgical team was able to release contracted scar tissue and placed skin grafts at her elbow and wrist. Kim Shankland, an occupational therapist from South Africa, then worked with Carole to help improve range of motion in her arm and wrist.
“As a mother, knowing what sort of difficulties your child would have – not being able to do the things you do – must be quite frustrating,” Kim says. She believes this has spurred Janviera in making sure Carole uses her injured arm and performs the rehab exercises. Janviera’s encouragement and insistence has been a major part of Carole’s successful recovery.