Journey to Africa, Part 2: LeTourneau Students Arrive In Africa - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

7/27/05-Kijabe, Kenya

Journey to Africa, Part 2: LeTourneau Students Arrive In Africa

After a morning devotional, the L.E.G.S. Team at LeTourneau begins teaching the prosthetics team at Cure International's Bethany Crippled Children's Centre how to make this one of a kind leg. "So before the LeTourneau group came in, what we've been doing with children we've been making for them prosthetics without joints because the joints are so expensive," says John Ogutu, Director of the Brace Lab at Bethany.
 
The knee is made from start to finish in the brace lab. After the patient is fitted, the critical part is the therapy and teaching the patient how to walk in their new leg. That's the case for 10-year-old Timothy Njuguna. Amputated, from what doctor's believe was a snake bike, Timothy's family could only afford to buy him a "peg leg", as it's called, because it doesn't bend at the knee. Already, the LeTourneau leg is bringing about change. Shannon Toews, a junior at LeTourneau, is in charge of physical therapy. "That's amazing...to see [Timothy] just be able to kick with both legs. It was really neat for me to see him sit with his legs dangling on his bed for the first time," says Toews.
 
Doris Wanjiru goes through the same procedure as the other amputees. A plastic mold is put on her residual limb to measure for alignment. 5 years ago she was hit by a car in a hit and run when she was eight. A good samaritan took her to the hospital... she was amputated that same day. "Whoa!," cries the L.E.G.S. team when they see Doris walking for the first time in the prosthetic. "They just walked out there they didn't give a second thought to their old leg. It's like it's gone they didn't even worry about it. It was just really neat," says L.E.G.S. team member Caleb Roepke.
  As the next patient, Magdelene, patiently waits her turn, the L.E.G.S. Team knows her prosthetic will have to meet some special needs. "She doesn't have toes on her biological leg. When you have a prosthetic leg you have to push up with your toes so the toe of the prosthetic clears the ground so you don't have to swing it out," explain L.E.G.S. Faculty Director Dr. Roger Gonzalez.
 
Born with a congenital disease, Magdelene has walked with a crutch all her life. Her right hand is deformed, because for years it's the only limb she could use to help herself off the ground. For the first time this 13-year-old is learning how to put one foot in front of the other. "It's that much closer to being able to function as part of society. Being able to have a lot more fun as a kid," says L.E.G.S. team member David Eaton. As the children continue their therapy L.E.G.S. know they're under deadline to fit each patient, make their prosthetic and have them walking all in a matter of days. But unexpectedly another subject would be added to their list. One who's story of survival is so amazing, they couldn't turn him away.

Thursday night on KLTV 7 News at 10, hear Peter Mbuvi's amazing story of how he survived being attacked by a hippopotamus. Plus, hear how this assignment has impacted the students at LeTourneau.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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