Thursday, 29 January 2009

Ramatu Update - December 2008

This is an update about Ramatu, the epileptic girl we found in laying in the street in May 2008. You can read about how I first met her here: Ramatu

I was able to see Ramatu again the day before I left Sierra Leone in December. I had visited the EASL (Epilepsy Assocation of Sierra Leone) the day before on the off chance of being able to see Max who had helped me with Ramatu back in May........Max was at a conference in town, but changed his plans to arrange to meet with me.

We headed into town, then went off in foot around the East End Police area of Freetown. It was about a 20 minute walk through a market, down alleyways, then a steep climb down between the houses until we found the room where Ramatu was.

The room was very dark (these photos were all taken with flash, sorry for the bad quality of the pics!). Ramatu was sitting on bare concrete on her own just inside the door. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw her - she was even more skinny that the last time I'd seen her! Because she was too weak to stand on her own she wasn't being given food in the hope that would prevent her from soiling on the floor.

Word soon got around that a stranger was in town and all the neighbours came to see what I was there for......and someone sent for Ramatu's mother. This was the woman who was with Ramatu when I found her back in June, and although we'd presumed she was Ramatu's mother she went told us later that she was het aunt - during this visit she did admit to being her mother though. Since I went back in June one of Ramatu's step-siblings had died and her step-father blamed Ramatu for that and had been trying to prevent her mother from seeing her.

She had been being given her medication and she was fitting a lot less than the last time I saw her.......only one fit in the 4 or so hours I was with her compared to 5 or so back in June. In some ways it's good that she did have a fit while we were there because it gave Max the opportunity to show the neighbours how to take care of her when she fits and they were also able to see that Max and I weren't afraid of her or of catching anything from her.

While I was there Ramatu asked me for a biscuit so we sent one of the onlookers off for some crackers and a drink for her. She was able to eat and drink a little.

Rather than leave money for food this time around we had a bag of rice delivered to the house. We also arranged for a mattress for Ramatu - we're hoping that whoever shares the mattess with her will assist her to the toilet if she needs to go on the night. I was also able to arrange for her medication until April along with vitamins. Max is also going to keep an eye on the situation.

I was very shocked by the condition of Ramatu she is so underwight and malnourished. She is very weak and still unable to stand without assistance. She was being left to sleep on a bare concrete floor. I couldn't believe my ears when I was told that she wasn't being given food in case of her messing the floor.

I spoke to Max last week - he has been to check on Ramatu recenty and told me that her mother is taking better care of har and is also selling some things in order to be able to get food for Ramatu. Max is going to keep me updated with her progress.

Thank you so much to the people whose kind donations allowed me to be able to buy a mattress for Ramatu as well as food and continuing medication

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