Putting Her Gifts into Practice (Zam)

Christa Roby—from Chilliwack, British Columbia, in Canada—has been volunteering for Hands at Work in South Africa and in Kabwe, Zambia. A registered massage therapist, Christa had no idea when she applied to volunteer with Hands at Work whether her skills would be useful in Africa, but she came with an open heart to serve.  Since October 2009, Christa has trained volunteer care workers in 12 villages in massage therapy.  Care workers are being empowered when they see the impact they can make in the lives of their sick friends and neighbors with only their hands.  Read more about a home visit Christa made with volunteers from Katondo Home-based Care in Kabwe, Zambia.

“Peter had a stroke in Feb/07 and had lost function of the right side of his body.  I asked Floyd (one of the volunteers) to begin with working on his back while I worked with the right leg.  I showed Floyd how tight Peter’s hamstrings had become and also how to assist them in relaxing.  Peter explained that he is only able to move around on his back.  I was confused, so he took the opportunity to go to the washroom and show me.  From his bed he lied on his back and then pushed himself onto the floor.  While still on his back he slithered into the next room using his one good leg to pull himself.  When he returned to the bed, I suggested that we try something new.  I first explained how he has one good leg; he just needs to use it. So, Floyd and I each got under one arm and helped him into a standing position. From here we helped him hop about 5 feet to a chair outside his house.  He began getting nervous that his good leg would collapse, so we let him sit.  Once he calmed down and got over the shock of what just happened, Peter was all smiles!  I don’t think I had grasped the gravity of what just happened until Floyd explained that this was the first time in almost 3 years that Peter had stood up, let alone moved somewhere.  Whenever they had to take him to town even, the volunteers would always carry him to and from the vehicle.  We spent some more time doing massage with the limbs; I also showed him some exercises he could be doing to keep movement in the affected joints. We tried to encourage him to put confidence into using the good side of his body. After helping him back to his bed and adjusting his home to be more accommodating to moving on one leg, we were on our way.  While seeing the smile left behind on Peter’s face and also the confidence and excitement in the volunteers for their new found knowledge, I couldn’t help but smile also.”

For more information about volunteering with Hands at Work, click on this link or email volunteer@handsatwork.org.