In the week o 11-14 of November, we very much enjoyed four mornings of the Club Foot Course on Ponseti, developed by the Global Club Foot association. Two trainers-  Chela Flowler ( my aunt) and Elisabeth Harvey and an assistant, Sarah (a friend of Chela’s) came from England to contribute to the knowledge of the Hospital Diospi Suyana. Present at the course were multicultural people from different disciplines of the hospital: paediatrics, traumatology, orthopaedics, nursing, occupational therapy, radiology and physical therapy. How this course came to be was a special God-led experience you can read about bellow. Bellow you can also read a short description on Club Foot and its treatment.

We enjoyed the presence of some small patients that had been invited to come to the course. Most were not locals and came from far. Their age? They were not newborns (as is normally the case in Europe) but had already ages of almost 2 and even up to 12!  In Peru, there is a belief that if a baby is born with a deformity, the parents must have done something wrong. The consequence: children with a deformity are hidden and therefore have had no medical treatment. So via de radio station of Diospi Suyana we had been giving information and inviting these children to come a visit us. Also the paediatricians and other doctors kept an eye open for these little patients.

Now that we have the knowledge on how to help children with Club Foot, the more difficult task still awaits us: finding more children that we can help; Spreading the news!

Club Foot is a deformity of the foot that babies may be born with. In Europe most babies are helped as from the day of their birth by serial casting that corrects the position of the foot. When the foot is corrected as much as possible, a small operation is done to correct the position of the Achilles tendon ( the elastic band at the back part of the ankle). The use of a night brace is essential to maintain this position until the child turns four. This simple procedure gives the child the possibility to grow up without any hindrance in their daily activity, no peers looking down on them for having a strange way of walking, and the possibilities of work and sports are the same as for any other person born with normally formed feet.

How This course came to be: the idea started before I (Vikki) put foot on Peruvian ground- it would be wonderful to give this knowledge to the Diospi Suyana Hospital. I knew my aunty worked for 20 years with Club Foot patients and that she was open to social work abroad (for a few weeks). I moved the idea aside since I had other things to think about at that moment, not to mention I did not exactly know what was awaiting us in Curahuasi and the Hospital Diospi Suyana. Almost two years later, my colleague that makes prosthetics and orthotics sent me a picture of a 11 year old boy with Club Foot. At that moment my aunt came into mind and I sent her the picture asking her what she would do about this case. If she would want to give us information about the treatment, or even better come and give us some lessons herself! (we get to spend time with her as family too! Bonus!). Within the minute she sent me a message saying at that very moment she was in the train going back home after a two days course on “Advanced training of Club foot”! She had also talked with her colleague Lis (Elisabeth) who was also at the training. My aunt had discovered she was a Christian. Also Lis had commented she had no idea why she was still doing this course since she is getting closer to the end of her career. Well, my aunt then asked her if she would join in giving a lesson in Peru! Her answer: “now I know why I had to do this Advanced course!”. Coincidence? Speaking to my aunty while she was in Perú she confessed that if I would have asked her to give the training three days before I had asked, she would have probably said “no”. But she could not say NO now, it was way too clear it was meant to be.

The date of the training was set: 11- 14 November 2019. Then, to our surprise and excitement, the course materials (manual, screening and evaluation forms, parent’s guide, etc…) came out for the first time in Spanish in October 2019! The timing was perfect! God’s timing was perfect! So we can proudly (and almost for certain) say: we have received the first official Spanish Ponseti Club Foot Training worldwide!

God’s timing is always perfect, and this is a reminder of this fact. He has the overview of all that is going on in this world (intercontinentally, organisational, and what most interests Him: our personal needs and development!)

“No strength of our own, nor goodness we claim; our trust is all thrown on Jesus’ name: In this our strong tower for safety we hide; The Lord is our power, “The Lord will provide”

– Newton