Jonathan, a 12-year-old boy was sent by his family from a small village on the island of Idjwi (on Lake Kivu) to the city of Goma to stay with his aunt. Shortly after arriving in this sprawling city of 1.2M people in early March, he was hit by a motorcycle while crossing a city street. The motorcycle driver fled, leaving Jonathan with a severely broken ankle. He was brought to HEAL Africa in Goma, which offers the only orthopedic surgery in the entire province of North Kivu.
Because Jonathan’s post-operative care and rehab would last several months, his aunt arranged for a companion to be by his side and bring food from time to time.
In July, a bill ($196) was presented for Jonathan’s care. With no means to pay, the aunt (and the companion) disappeared and despite efforts made to find them, it turned out his aunt had moved and left 12-year-old Jonathan in a hospital ward with an outstanding bill and no way of getting home.
That is how I met Jonathan, who like other abandoned children became a ward of Heal Africa. During his time at the hospital he was enrolled in Tuungane School where he also received porridge, bread and peanuts at lunchtime every weekday. At night and on weekends, others, including patients, provided food whenever they could.
Knowing no one would come back for Jonathan, we arranged payment of his hospital bill … but the difficult question was, where would he go? Jonathan hoped that if he could just make it to Idjwi he would be able to find his way home. But Idjwi is the 10th largest inland island in the world! We arranged for someone on HEAL staff to accompany him on the day long boat trip, and make sure he was reunited with his family.
Rejoice with us that Jonathan is now back at home on Idjwi! Thank you for your gifts that allow us to be there when needs like this arise.