A struggle has been worthwhile

Tuufilwa is one of our fighters and sunshine in our Centre. I personally have never met a child what laughs so much has joy and spread like Tuufilwa. Tuufilwa is 7 years old and is since 2013 by Side by Side. My colleague Sandra knows Tuufilwa since she is 2 years old, at that time  Sandra visited once or twice a week and she has worked with her in front of the Shack in the mobile sessions. I met Tuufilwa end of 2012 and as of March 2013, she  joined us at the Centre. Full of joy and totally motivated it helps others and is totally open to new things.


She did not know how to use a flushing toilet. Where she lives, there is no running water and the toilet is a dug hole in the ground. Tuufilwa was born quite normally when she was a few months old, something happened, Nobody knows exactly what happened. She came to the hospital and was there for 3 weeks in a coma, and when she woke up she had a right hemiplegia and problems in language development and more. She was diagnosed with Cerebal Palsy (CP). Briefly a brain injury caused by an event. All this information we have received from Tuufilwas mother. All this is reflected in the mold, the Tuufilwa could not walk properly, her right foot was a so-called stork foot and she has just gone on their tiptoes. Her right hand is spastic and she can not really use the motorized. And the level of development it does not meet a child her age. She has a developmental delay of 2-3 years.Tuufilwas mother unfortunately has a strong alcohol problem and could not take care  enough for Tuufilwa. Thus we had to put her in November 2013 in an orphanage temporarily, thus bringing the Tuufilwa it is guaranteed receives regularly food. After  she lived with me for a few day,  we managed to get a place for her. The mother was with and knew where their child is and she could also visit at any time and Tuufilwa could also “adopt” Mama but was equal to already busy with the other children. The supply at the orphanage is okay. Unfortunately, there are many cases in Namibia that are absolutely overwhelmed with their work, the social workers and therefore, unfortunately, the service has flaws.

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Tuufilwas leg this year was getting worse. The mother had in 2013 an appointment with a foot specialist but unfortunately they managed to not follow-up appointments

The leg has so far exacerbates the Tuufilwa sometimes stated pain or could no longer walk properly and it turned the whole knee and foot inward. There was a need for action. First, I ask our physiotherapist for advice, unfortunately, they did not know how it takes place in the community hospitals, because they cared for the people have health insurance only. Since Tuufilwa has no health insurance I had to find another plan. Jamie’s mother told me then a footspecialist in Katutura Hospital every Wednesday was there. No sooner said than done and the Wednesday after we were already in the Katutura Hospital. After several hours of waiting, we were finally on the series. He immediately decided that Tuufilwa an OP does not come around. Since it is the only specialist in Namibia and it was already fully booked for the whole year, I could no longer hold back my despair. We all agreed that she cannot run anymore until next year. After take a deep breath and the doctor saw my desperation and offered me they squeeze in for an appointment in August. Thus they got for 22 August the date for the surgery. I could not believe my luck and was eternally grateful. Finally a ray of hope. The OP was not only an obstacle but it was at the time also an epilepsy found at Tuufilwa which had to be treated before they could get the distance OP. Said done next doctor’s appointment has been set. Everything went well, at 21.8 I brought Tuufilwa then the scheduled starting date, the day before she was at my house so I could wash her properly. Whom she had not seen a shower unfortunately a very long time.  The night was good and they did not attack that night. The next morning we start with Heike together on the way to the hospital. With a packed bag and a full stomach. After 5 hours of waiting finally comes to the doctor and taking Tuufilwa on. We were brought to the children’s department where Tuufilwa will spend the next few days. 7 weeks plaster standing before her. I asked the doctor if he please Tuufilwa can keep over the weekend, because I want to make sure that she gets something to eat. I could not take her after the surgery to me unfortunately for personal reasons. The doctor agreed that she can stay here over the weekend.

After an 8 hour stay and many phone calls to whoever signs the OP paper we also needed a break. With it nearly broke the heart I had a 7 year old girl alone leave the hospital without knowing whether their mother or their alleged Guardians come at all.

Luckily a super cute nurse was on duty that has accepted to Tuufilwa and looked after her. This helped a little, when I left the hospital.

One day after the operation, I visited the little mouse together with our Volunteerin Maria. Tuufwila was super good mood, of course, annoyed by the plaster. Already on the second day. But it was good to watch that she is doing well and she has survived the surgery. And her mother stayed with her in the hospital.

After a long time Tuufilwa finally came back  this week to the Centre. Without plaster and going! I had tears in my eyes watching through this child. After all the hurdles we have overcome together. It has paid off and even if one believes one wants to give up, there is still a bit of force to fight too! We are currently making intensive physiotherapy and exercises so that they soon their “new” leg may set up and jump and can run as she wants!


I wanted to share this post with you, since it is one of my prägensten experience in my life was us. Although many a laugh at and do not understand why so much power for someone, then I hope that these people understand it when they see the video of Tuufilwa!

Many thanks!