From Mobility for Bertha
by Richard Stephens on October 20, 2017

Cobra Nearly Ends her Life

One would think a child is safe when they are playing just outside their home, especially when their home is six kilometers away from the main road, in a rural setting where little crime exists, and within ear sound of her mother and the other village leaders.

This was not the case for seven-year-old Bertha Jere whose whole life has been in a tiny village an hour north of Nkhotakoto on Lake Malawi. For young Bertha the sudden ordeal would plunge her into a rush against the clock and nearly take her life. If they failed to reach Kamuzu Central Hospital in time she would surely die.

Their arrival was just in time to save her life, but not in time to save her leg. A giant Cobra had bitten her, and the poison had already done its damage. Amputation was the only solution if she were to live. After her infected leg was removed an artificial leg was attached. While this helped insure her survive it did nothing to give her a future. Her movements were confined to her home, and her lack of mobility made it impossible to go to school, or spend time outside with her friends. She was confined to her home.

Earlier in the year when Wilson Tembo delivered emergency food supplies for 1,260 people in her village area, he learned about her plight. He had a solution. When he returned to the warehouse he made arrangements to send a mobility unit to her, thanks to the first shipment from Mobility Ministries in northern Indiana that had reached Malawi a short time earlier. It changed everything.

Today Bertha hand pedals her way to school, and to other points around the village. She is no longer confined to her tiny house a long way from the road and her future is much brighter than any time since she stepped outside her village home and came face to face with a deadly snake.