Gideon is four years old and the last-born in his family of six children. He is a playful, charming, friendly, and happy boy. Gideon comes from the southern highlands of Tanzania close to Katavi National Park. Gideon has not yet started school, but his father says when he gets to be six years old, he will enroll him. Most children in this region join school starting at the age of six due to the long distance they must walk to school. Parents must wait for their children to grow strong enough to walk to and from school before enrolling them. Gideon’s parents are small-scale farmers of maize, beans, and vegetables and only sell a few of their harvests to get money to buy other basics for their family.
Gideon has been diagnosed with bilateral genu valgus, where his legs bow inward so that they touch. This condition is typically caused by an excessive accumulation of fluoride in the bones, which often stems from contaminated drinking water. As a result, he experiences pain and discomfort.
Our medical partner, African Mission Healthcare, is requesting $880 to fund corrective surgery for Gideon. The procedure is scheduled to take place on January 4th. Treatment will hopefully restore Gideon’s mobility, allow him to participate in a variety of activities, including school in the future, and greatly decrease his risk of future complications.
Gideon’s father says “My son walks with a gait and falls down a lot. He also complains of pain after a long day of play.”