Wednesday 14 November 2012

Story Behind Nigerian Girl Getting New Arms

Ruth Idowu, 19, can finally eat ice cream on a stick after receiving an artificial arm. A maniac in her native Nigeria chopped off her right hand and left arm to the elbow in a savage attack two years ago.
Ruth Idowu is a 19-year-old Nigerian girl who lost her right hand and part of her left arm in a savage attack in her native country. Thanks to the kindness of strangers — who have come to love her — she’s being fitted at Johnson Orthopedic Appliances in Riverside with two artificial limbs, for free.

Ruth is more than a survivor. She’s full of joy, a giggly young woman who hopes to restart her life when she returns home in February with two mechanical arms.
Two years ago, while cleaning tables in her parents’ restaurant in Oga Odan, her hometown, a drug-crazed madman burst in and began stabbing Ruth, hacking off parts of her arms. After an eight-month hospital stay, she returned home, maimed and helpless.
She learned to eat by scooping food with the stump of her left arm into the crook of her right arm. She was forced to abandon plans to study accounting and learn to drive. But Ruth had faith that Jesus would help her. Her faith prevailed. Tunde and Friends Foundation, a nonprofit that supports disabled Nigerians, funded Ruth’s airfare to Southern California and living expenses here.
She’s staying in Colton with Tunde Akinremi and his wife, Titi, the amazing folks who brought her here. Tunde, 57, is himself disabled, a paraplegic who uses a wheelchair. Titi, 58, is a doctor. The married couple have residences both in Colton and in a southwestern city in Nigeria

Ruth wasn’t easy to interview because of her limited English and bashfulness. Tunde Akinremi, 57, a math teacher in Pomona, interpreted for her at the clinic, while she awaited being fitted with her left prosthesis.
Ruth is beautiful, with huge black eyes and close-cropped hair. But the photographer, Dave Baumann, videographer, Chris Ercoli and I were so taken with this spirited young woman, we stayed nearly three hours at the clinic.

She’s thrilled with her new appendages and has quickly mastered eating ice cream on a stick, answering the phone, dressing herself and boiling water. Mike Openshaw, the clinic’s head prosthetist, fitted her last week with her left arm, teaching her all seven positions. Both he and Ruth’s occupational therapist, Cathy Armitage, say she’s doing extraordinarily well.
It’s easy to see why this team fell in love with Ruth. She doesn’t pity herself. She’s not bitter. She doesn’t even rail against her assailant, who succumbed to mob justice after they doused him with petrol, set him on fire and watched him die.
She’s eager to reclaim her independence. She shed no tears during the interview. Filled with hope and expectations, she constantly breaks into wide smiles and sometimes, song.
We”ll be following her progress until the day she boards a plane, returning home with new arms.

Credit: The press Enterprise  

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