In the remote Ethiopian city of Lalibela, 900 kilometres away from Addis Ababa, Tamirialesh was filled with excitement as the due date for her firstborn children approached. The twins she carried were important to her not just for the joy they brought but also for what they meant to her marriage. Tamirialesh’s husband had abandoned her earlier that year after several years together had produced no children to be his heirs. It was four months into her pregnancy that he found out she had conceived and returned to his wife.
Tamirialesh’s joy once again turned to sorrow, however, when her husband again abandoned her immediately after the birth of her twin boys. Both children had been born with severe bilateral clubfoot. Unable to cope with the shame of this deformity, Tamirialesh’s husband blamed her for producing ‘cripples’ and left her to care for her newborn boys and their farm alone.
After recovering from the birth and the shock of losing her husband again, Tamirialesh set about trying to find treatment for her children. Fortunately, the first doctor she saw knew about the new CURE Ethiopia Children’s Hospital in Addis Ababa and referred her there. Tamirialesh was dismayed at the prospect of treatment so far from her home and troubled as she had no funds to take the long journey to Addis with her boys. She took the difficult decision to sell her only cow and with the funds she raised she travelled to Addis Ababa.
Arriving at the CURE Ethiopia hospital Tamirialesh found out about the Ethiopian Clubfoot Project and was thrilled at the prospect of receiving free non-surgical treatment for her boys. She stayed at a nearby shelter home as the boys underwent casting and is now very happy to see their once-twisted feet straightened and functional. The boys are currently on foot abduction braces, provided by the Australian government DAP funds, and are able to walk, run and play just like other children their age. Tamirialesh can return home to Lalibela with her pride restored and the knowledge that her two boys, when grown, will be fit and healthy and able to help their determined mother to run their farm.