Worano Wogaso’s Story
Worano’s story demonstrates the radical change that early intervention can have for a young person with mossy foot disease. It also shows the importance of having local clinics that are accessible to those in need. And finally, it demonstrates how those who have received help want to give back, so that the cycle of healing can continue.
When I was young boy, I worked hard to help my family. I watched the cows in the pasture, fetched water from river, and guarded the house when nobody was home. Sometimes I went to market with my parents. It took us two hours to walk from my home to Bedesa market place. As a boy, I always walked barefoot.
My family took me to school when I was old enough. I loved going to school and until the eighth grade, I attended without ever missing a class. But when I entered the eighth grade, I began to experience symptoms with my feet.
As time went by, my feet continued to swell and itch. I did not understand what was happening. It became difficult for me to go to school, and I dropped out. Working became difficult too.
About this time, my father died. Because I was the oldest child, I had to help provide food for my mother and four brothers and sisters. One of my younger brothers became sick so I took him to Soddo Hospital for treatment. In Soddo, I went to almost all of the pharmacies and clinics in the town, but was unable to find proper medicine for my feet.
But while I was at Soddo Hospital with my brother, some people who saw my feet told me about an organization that provided treatment for feet like mine. They told me the organization was located in the hospital compound and they showed me the specific building.
After my brother got well, I took him home and then returned to Soddo Hospital to get treatment for my feet at the Mossy Foot Project clinic. A worker there gave me medicine and showed me how to use it. After two weeks of taking the medicine regularly, the pain, itching, tiredness, and inability to walk long distances decreased.
Clinic workers told me it was very important to wear shoes. I never had shoes to wear, and if I did have shoes, I would not have been able to fit them over my swollen feet. The first pair of shoes I got from the clinic was size 45. They cost me 10 birr (50 cents).
For five months I continued with the medicine and always wore shoes. My feet showed great improvement. God touched my life through the Mossy Foot Project. The mossy stuff, the swelling, and pain started to vanish from my feet. I started wearing 44, 43, and then size 42 shoes.
Soon after my feet began improving, the Mossy Foot Project opened a clinic in my area (Gilo). This helped me a lot by saving me the time walking to Soddo and the money for food and lodging when I went to Soddo Hospital. I began going to the Gilo site for treatment and soon I was wearing size 41 shoes. My feet became clean, the swelling vanished, and my feet returned to normal. God was faithful to me.
I remember when a doctor first looked at my feet. He told me my legs needed to be amputated below the knee. I prayed to God not to make me a helpless cripple as a teenager. God answered my prayer. My feet were not cut off and I got well. Now I am a strong and healthy farmer.
The Mossy Foot Project changed my life and gave me a future. I married and now have five children. Now I am serving the Mossy Foot Project as a health agent. I take medicine and shoes to patients who cannot walk to the clinic site. I teach new patients how to use the medicine given by the Mossy Foot Project and how to take care of their feet.