My Darling Christina

Christina intake photo, 2009.

DOB September 8, 2002

Came under Tumaini care early 2009.

Our darling Christina was born  with hydrocephalus due to a folic acid deficiency her mother experienced during the early stages of her pregnancy.  Unfortunately, many of the anti-malarial medications used in Tanzania deplete folic acid and Christina’s mother, not yet aware she was pregnant, may have allowed herself to be treated with such a drug.  As a result, Christina’s brain produces excess fluid which would be fatal if she didn’t have a shunt (small tube) running under skin from her skull, down the side of her neck and into her abdomen where the fluid drains and is absorbed into her body. 

Christina’s father is unknown and in 2008 Christina was abandoned by her mother and is cared for by her Bibi (grandmother) who is well into her eighties and unable to provide more than the most basic of care for Christina.  I have visited Christina’s home where I have always found her filthy, and hungry, albeit ecstatically happy to see me.  You can tell in her photos how excited she gets when we visit.

Christina is a very friendly, outgoing and happy child who is ready for school, but will always struggle to learn and will require extra attention for all of life.  She is alert and willing, sometimes even the teacher, giving me instruction in Swahili.  When disgruntled, Christina will slap and we will need to work on this at Tumaini House because corporal punishment will not be permitted.  Like many of the children, Christina can be possessive of me in a group setting, but I am confident that in time she will learn that there is more than enough love to go around.  You might help spread that love by planning a visit to Usa River and Tumaini House some day.

Christina’s visit to Dr. Lyimo resulted in the discovery of hookworm.  Her weight at 20 kg. was “not bad” in Dr. Lyimo’s opinion, even though Christina is tall for her age.  Dr. Lyimo sent us on to KCMC (Kiliminjaro Christian Medical Centre), in Moshi to have Christina assessed by a specialist and she was prescribed 4 visits annually back to Moshi for rehabilitative therapy to help her with a milk drooling problem.  Her first visit is November 4th.

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