Sierra Leone 2014

James with all of our supplies: 16 Bump arms, 10 above-knee legs, 4 below-knee legs, and supplies for last years patients
James with all of our supplies: 16 Bump arms, 10 above-knee legs, 4 below-knee legs, and supplies for last years patients

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.

team 21
Our team at the Oslo Amputee Camp in Makeni, Sierra Leone. Sami (student prosthetist), Matt (Jack-of-all trades/technician), Michelle (Physical Therapist), Dava (Occupational Therapist), Angela (Physical Therapist), Frances (Guide & Leader), and James (Senior Prosthetist)

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.

James working with the therapist Angela to fit Hawa with her prosthetic leg. Hawa's leg was made back in the states from measurements we had taken last year.
James working with the therapist Angela to fit Hawa with her prosthetic leg. Hawa’s leg was made back in the states from measurements we had taken last year.

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!

Sami fit Pa Issa's arm at the Oslo Amputee Camp.
Sami fit Pa Issa’s arm at the Oslo Amputee Camp.

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.

Arune, one of our patients from last year, congratulates Pa Issa on his new arm at an Amputee Camp in Freetown
Arune, one of our patients from last year, congratulates Pa Issa on his new arm at an Amputee Camp in Freetown

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!

BK07 Kadiatu 032014 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!