We traveled again to Sierra Leone in February of 2014. Our goal was to check up with all of last year’s patients, providing necessary supplies, and fulfill the prosthetic needs of the patients we measured in 2013. Again we traveled with Indian Creek Church with a total of 12 missionaries. For our total of 40 patients, it was great to have 24 bags of luggage to spread our tools and prosthetics inbetween. We used the measurements from last year to make prosthetic legs for the 10 above-knee amputees we had met. We prayed to God that we would be able to find all of those people. Finding people is way easier in America where we can use a cell phone, home phone, Facebook, or internet. Finding people in Africa is much more of a challenge, so we prayed we would be able to find the owners of these legs.
This year, our team included James, our primary prosthetist; Sami, student prosthetist; 2 physical therapists, 1 occupational therapist, and 1 technician/jack-of-all-trades. We traveled to Sierra Leone and then drove out to Makeni. The devil was sure active our first day in Sierra Leone. We aimed to drive to Makeni (what should be a 3 hour drive) on Monday. We left shortly after breakfast, but due to our over-filled van, we got not one, but three, flat tires. The driver was smart enough to bring one spare tire, but when the second tire blew, we had a problem. We sat at the side of the street, waiting for the driver to hitch a ride into town and bring back new tires so that we could continue our travels. Luckily, the people in the small neighborhood where the tire blew were very friendly, and we enjoyed interacting with the children.
We started the prosthetics work on Tuesday, and the amputees started to appear. In the first day, 8 of the 10 above-knee amputees who we had legs for showed up. Praise God! James set to work fitting the above-knee prostheses with the physical therapists, and Sami set to work fitting the Bump arms to the below-elbow patients. Over the next 3 days, we were able to fit all the above-knee prosthetics we had brought along. In addition, we were able to fit some below-knee patients we had planned for, and we were able to deliver to supply equipment to our patients from last year! Sami was able to fit multiple Bump arms to patients, and she casted the above-elbow patients so that we can make them prostheses for next year. Praise the Lord!
We were able to get so much done in the first 2 days that we were able to visit an amputee camp on our third day in Makeni. Sami fit a Bump arm at Abraham’s house, a patient we had met last year, and James measured additional amputees for future trips. It was really neat to come to where they lived to serve them and show God’s love.
We then traveled to the capital of Sierra Leone, Freetown, to touch base with some of last year’s patients. We were able to meet up with a couple of the patients from last year at their amputee camp. We worked out of the van to fit prosthetic arms to a couple of additional amputees. God is good!
2014 was another successful year for New Life with Limbs in Sierra Leone. We were able to fit 10 above-knee amputees, 4 below-knee amputees, and 12 below-elbow amputees. We were able to measure an additional 20 amputees for future trips, including taking plaster impressions of 10 patients with more challenging amputations. God continues to bless our ministry, and we are thankful!