Dick Wheelock writes:
HATW has been working in a small town called Affame in Benin, for the last fifteen years.
About 11 years ago, Margaret Coupe, a nurse/volunteer, on visiting Affame, came across a young boy called Herve who had a club foot. She subsequently arranged to have it operated on the Mercy Ship, when it docked in Cotonou. Margaret then undertook to keep Herve supplied with corrective boots.
On my first visit to Affame, about a year later, Margaret had asked me to check up on Herve to make sure he was wearing his boots. Off I set on the back of a motorbike for the six or seven Km. drive, along some rough and steep tracks, to the tiny isolated village where Herve and his family live. On arrival, the village elder sent someone to seek out Herve. Moments later a small boy stepped out of a hut without a stitch of clothing on but wearing his boots!
As I later got to know his mother, it became apparent that she was quite determined to always do her best for him. It also seemed that the whole village was adding this support. Thus Herve never had the chance of going barefoot again until he was completely healed..
The next time I visited Herve in his village several years later, it was to meet this fine upstanding youth who was the pride of his school football team and had no sign of his former handicap. He incidentally spoke about the best French I have ever heard from a junior school student in Benin.