Received medical care
Petit Allaye was one year old when I first met him in 2006 with his mother "Kadiatou" who had a job cooking for a dance and drum workshop for tourists in Guinea. The connection between Petit Allaye, Kadiatou, and myself was strong from the start. My name in Guinea is also "Kadiatou"; which makes Petit Allaye's mother my "n'togoma" (which is Susu for "same name"). Over the years we have established a bond that will last a lifetime.
Kadiatou and her family live in a tightly knit community where all the women cook outdoors since their homes are no more than a doorway into a dark room surrounded by cinder block walls and a roof made out of metal if they are lucky. Many, many families live in this community and often, mothers take care of each other's children so that they may each get a chance to go to market either to shop for needed supplies or to sell their wares from a basket on top of their head
Kadiatou has never attended school in her life and she speaks only Susu which is her native language. Many of the girls and women never get a chance at an education and therefore grow up with the job of cooking and cleaning and taking care of the family. Some women who have no education also sell products at market, such as water, bisap (a frozen drink made from flowers), small cakes or popcorn. All of the products that these women sell are labor intensive and do not bring in much more than a couple of dollars at the end of the day by the time they account for the cost of ingredients and transportation. Kadiatou does not have the means to send any of her children to school.
Petit Allaye is the youngest of Kadiatou's children. He has already found a place in many of your hearts. For those of you who do not know Petit Allaye, he is the little boy who survived an entire year with a femur bone that was broken into three pieces. The bone rotted and the marrow from above the break poured down into his lower leg, filling his leg with infection and toxic fluid.
Woontanara Aid had been informed that Petit Allaye had a "broken foot" that needed treatment, but we were not informed of the severity of his state of health. I made a point of visiting Petit Allaye as soon as possible upon arrival in Guinea. When I saw his injury I was in shock. His skin had exploded with infection and it appeared as though his femur bone had healed broken underneath his skin. Thankfully I had some volunteers with me in Guinea this time as well as some other American contacts, so I called on all my resources to try to come up with a plan to help save Petit Allaye's leg.
Reed Sullivan, one of our volunteers, consulted with his sister back in the U.S. who is a nurse and once all opinions came in…we knew we needed to act quickly. Not only was it unbelievable that he had survived the entire year with a broken femur, but the infection was so severe that we were concerned for his life. We jumped through a lot of hoops and suffered much worry as we made the plans for his femur surgery in a filthy land where we were unsure who we could trust with such a serious operation. We were also struggling with the intolerable worry that his leg would need to be amputated in order to save his life. Once we found the appropriate doctor and clinic, we were terrified to schedule the surgery, and we were terrified, as well, to NOT schedule the surgery.
The clinic that we finally chose was going to cost more than twice the price as the normal hospitals in Conakry that were out of the question because of their incompetence and filth. We knew he would not have a chance of recovering from such an infection in such an unsanitary setting. Long story short, he had the surgery on December 21 of 2011.
The surgeons removed a portion of his femur that appeared to be shattered, splintered, and rotten. He spent three weeks in the hospital receiving drip antibiotics and pain killers with his father by his side the entire time.
His cast came off on March 28, more than three months later. He has been using crutches and receiving re-educational therapy so that he can learn to walk again. His leg is substantially shorter than his other leg. We are happy that he has his leg, and his life.
Petit Allaye has never gone to school because his family does not have the means. Woontanara Aid has enrolled Petit Allaye in first grade for the upcoming school year. Petit Allaye is VERY excited at the opportunity for a better life!
Received medical care
Mariama Berey is twelve years old. The family that she lives with is very poor. Woontanara Aid (WA) has made education a possibility for Mariama by enrolling her in a quality school and paying for her tuition, school supplies, transportation and a school uniform, which is required of all Guinean children. We provide uniforms for Mariama and other poor or orphaned children who would not otherwise be able to afford one. But a school uniform is the least of Mariama’s worries.
Mariama has a skin disorder that causes the palms of her hands and the bottoms of her feet to dry up, crack deeply and shed the skin causing unbearable pain and bleeding. When we met Mariama, she was bandaged and unable to walk. Woontanara Aid took Mariama to the Donka Hospital in Conakry, Guinea. Hospital protocol is to first test the blood for life threatening illnesses such as tuberculosis, AIDS, cholera, malaria and cancer. Many Guineans are unable to afford this test, and therefore are not able to get medical attention. We did not suspect that she had any of these illnesses and we were elated when her results came back negative. She could now be treated.
We left the hospital that day with a diagnosis: Mariama has a rare parasite in her blood which causes these painful symptoms. The most exposed and worked areas of skin are the first to show cracking and peeling. But if left untreated, the symptoms will appear all over the body. Mariama was given a prescription for a strong antibiotic shot weekly. We went to the neighborhood clinic together every Friday for 4 weeks for her injection. After that, she went for monthly injections. She takes prescription-strength antibiotic pills daily and applies a topical cream to her hands and feet every night before bed.
Mariama wears socks in her flip flops now, in order to protect her feet and on any given day, if you go visit Mariama by surprise, she will come running out of her humble cement dwelling with socks on. She is diligently trying to avoid direct contact with the ground. To this day, Woontanara Aid takes her to the hospital for monthly check-ups. We continue to pay for transportation, hospital visits, medicines, injections and ointments prescribed by her doctor. Mariama is healing. The medical professionals are hopeful, and so are we, that she can heal from this painful disease.
Woontanara Aid helps people in need who take an active role in helping themselves. The antibiotic injections are very strong, they hurt, and they make Mariama feel sick. However, she knows that in order to heal, she must be committed to the process. She is dedicated to her treatment. Woontanara Aid plans to continue working with Mariama and we will keep you updated on her progress.
Any financial assistance you would like to contribute greatly helps us to assist these people in need in Guinea, West Africa.
Advanced sewing school student
15 years old
Father: Mamadou Diallo
Mother: Fatoumatou Diallo
Father's Other Wife: Hawa Diallo
Kadiatou Diallo is a beautiful 15-year-old girl whose biggest concern in life is to learn her trade well. Kadiatou doesn't go to school, so her livelihood hinges on what she can learn as an apprentice at the Woontanara Aid Sewing School. If she can learn well, she can support her parents in the future, including her handicapped father who goes out to beg in the streets of Conakry.
Mamadou Diallo, Kadiatou's father, (whom we call "Generale") became crippled at the age of three. White people came to the village where he lived to teach the native Africans how to give injections against polio. Sadly, Mamadou was given a bad injection and has been physically disabled ever since, awkwardly walking with a cane.
Mamadou has lived at Chez les Handicappes with his family since 2008. Before that they were street people, living under an umbrella in front of the Senegalese mosque down the street. For some reason in 2008, the government decided to move a large number of street families from there to Chez les Handicappes. Even after moving, the families still lived for six months homeless under the tree in the courtyard—the government provided them nothing. A charitable organization was able to build hangars for them—two families to each room—but after three years, the hangars are in disrepair and in danger of being torn down.
Mamadou has two wives who take turns rotating between living with their husband and living in the village. While with their husband, their job includes going to the market to sell vegetables. Mamadou himself goes out into the streets to beg. He can actually make umbrellas but doesn't have the materials or the space to make them. Together, Mamadou and his two wives have nine children, five of which still live in the family home.
Despite Mamadou's physical disability, his mental facilities are as strong as ever. Mamadou actually spent several years in schools in English-speaking countries such as Liberia. He has a strong desire to practice the English he learned there, but has trouble finding English speakers in a French-speaking country. He likes to teach his children and wives when he can, but their time together is limited due to begging, work, and school.
As for Kadiatou, learning to read and write is her second dream. She hardly speaks French, however, as her father didn't have the means to send her to school when she was young. Instead she communicates in her native languages of Pulaar and Soussou. Though seemingly somewhat well-educated, Kadiatou's father was unable to pass that gift on to his daughter. Through the work of Woontanara Aid, however, Kadiatou has been given a great gift. If she can graduate from the sewing school and have her own business, she can make a living to support her father, who for various reasons and circumstances could not properly support her. To learn her trade, to read and write: those are the dreams of a 15-year-old girl in the Woontanara Aid Sewing School—a girl named Kadiatou Diallo.