Larwan and Omarou have been coming together for joint art therapy sessions. There is a good dynamic between these two boys. They enjoy each other’s company and, not that this was the deciding factor in having them come together, but it’s very easy for me to plop the two of them together on the wheelchair and get them over to my art therapy room. They’re both small, so it works nicely.
Also, both of them cannot walk. But don’t get me wrong, they can get wherever they need to go; they have their ways. Larwan was born with severe clubfoot, but he can fly around on his hands and knees. Omarou has severe burns on his legs and torso. When his skin was burned (he stood too close to a fire and his clothes caught on fire) some of the skin on his legs and torso melted together. He can get around by crouching over and taking very small steps. One of Larwan’s feet is bandaged up because he just had his first operation (out of a series of operations) to correct his clubfoot. One of Omarou’s legs is a lot bigger than the other. That is because the doctor injected air into his leg that still has good skin, to stretch it out so that they will be able to take a skin graft from it to sew onto the areas that no longer have skin.
Now, when I look at the pictures of them, the first thing I notice about them is their amazing smiles. Take a look below and see if you agree. They are some of the happiest, most bubbly kids you could ever meet. They have conditions that are so serious that they can’t even walk properly, and yet you would never know it when looking at their smiling faces. You would never know the limitations and challenges they face. These boys love to laugh and they get each other going too. I just love hearing them ramble off in Hausa. I would love to know all the things they’re saying. Regardless, one thing is for sure: they have fun together. They are not focused on their very serious disabilities.
I have so much to learn from them. I can have a bad day over burning dinner on the stove or dealing with different beaurocratic offices. But those are tangible things that are easy to point out. I can also have a bad day because I am feeling insecure. I wish I was better at this or more efficient at that. Why is it sometimes so hard for me to be content? Expecially when I think of the fact that, unlike Larwan and Omarou, I have my health, and so much more, like an oven, for example! Omarou was burned so badly because his mother has to cook over an open fire. I have more than I know what to do with, and yet I look for what I don’t have.
I’m constantly struck by the resilience that people have here. Their attitudes towards life. If I could glean a little more from them, I would be better off. It is amazing to be able to see these children go through the (long and painful) process of healing, and to celebrate with them once they are able to walk. It is such a good reminder of what is really important in life, and I am blessed to be a part of it.