In part 1 I told you about the moment I met Ganet, a woman crippled from birth and a single mother after being raped when she was working in the fields. I was moved to compassion and set about arranging for her to have surgery on her legs. We returned two years later to see how the operation has impacted her life.
Our encounter, and Ganet’s deep sense of gratitude, had a profound impact on me and the group. Initially there were discussions about a wheelchair which would make it easier for Ganet to move around, but after consultation with the Compassion Ethiopia office and doctors in Addis Ababa, it was decided that an operation would give her a very good chance of walking unaided.
In November 2009 Ganet underwent two successful operations and began the road to recovery, spending three weeks in hospital in Addis Ababa. She healed without complications and a month later returned to Addis Ababa to be fitted for supportive shoes and crutches.
Ganet’s return to her village brought with it many ‘firsts’. For the first time in her life she was able to stand and walk, instead of crawling through the dust. For the first time she could walk hand in hand with her son. For the first time she could see the world from the same perspective as everyone else. For the first time she could hold her head high and walk with dignity down the dirt road where I first met her.
The change in her life is almost beyond comprehension. “I suffered a lot and many times I decided to commit suicide,” Ganet said. “After many years of sleepless nights, after many years of humiliation, after many years of sadness and pain I hadn’t dreamt of this new life. Before I was hopeless, thinking of myself and the fate of my child, but now I am a completely different person. My child, friends, neighbours and the community can’t believe I am walking. Now I am walking. Glory be to God.”