Masiyaleta taught me never to underestimate a child living with disabilities…

Masiyaleta taught me never to underestimate a child living with disabilities…

Masiyaleta is a bright and clever child. I sat beside him as the film crew set up and made idle conversation. I was shocked when the little boy answered me in English! No one in his family spoke English and Masiyaleta was unable to attend school. Yet, somehow he had learned a new language. (Later I found out that he listened to English radio as he lay alone in the house).
He lives in rural Zambia – far from physiotherapists and medical teams that can help him. He is so bright – but can’t go to school. He has cerebral palsy and struggles to control his movements. We watch his frustration as a fly lands on his face and he can’t bat it away. If he does, his leg springs up, taut and cramped. His arms are stiff and he is unable to grasp anything larger than his fingers in his fist. He can’t feed himself. He can’t walk. The gift of a wheelchair from generous donors supporting Hope and Healing opened the world for Masiyaleta. In it, he is able to sit up and see the village, the children and his family. Attending a weekly support group with his mother builds his confidence. Now he talks and plays with the kids in his community.
Some people have asked me about the moments that have stuck with me during my time at Hope and Healing – I thought I would do a quick video to show you some of the lessons I learned.

When my kids were little, they would dance spontaneously and freely.

They were beautiful, happy and without fear.

Too often kids, especially kids with disabilities living in poverty, don’t have the confidence to dance. Yet, they too, dream about the freedom and joy to dance. More than 30 years ago, I came across words a kid had scrawled in crayons on the wall: “I want to dance when I get big.”

Throughout my time, those two images stayed with me.

I pray that, because of the work of Hope and Healing, one more kid, growing up in poverty, not feeling valued, will KNOW they are a child of God. I pray that they will have a place in the community, a plan for the future. And I pray they would keep believing that, when they get big, they will dance.

Send a note to Ed
Executive Director, Ed Epp, has provided a God-centred vision for Hope and Healing International for 14 years. As he prepares for retirement, send him a quick note of encouragement, Scripture or memories.