Mara Klassen, a volunteer at Mossy Foot Project’s state-side office, is on a three-week visit to Ethiopia. She and Mossy Foot Project President Sharon Daly have been visiting each clinic to assess needs and progress.
During a visit to the Gununa Clinic, Mara had an opportunity to meet Zecharias and hear his story of a life-changing transformation.
I am a farmer. Mossy foot disease started because of I worked barefoot in the dirt. It first attacked my smallest toe. Within the first month, half my toe was gone, and two months later, my entire toe was gone and my foot became infected with worms.
This caused so much pain and agony that I sought relief by placing my feet near a fire so that the heat would drive the worms away. I could not walk properly and had to use a stick.
I came to the government health center and asked for a doctor to see if I could get any medicine to provide relief. The doctor told me I would need to have all my toes removed and that I would need money to pay for the operation. He told me I would probably not recover and that I might need to have my legs amputated at the knee or even higher. This operation would have to be done in Addis Ababa. The doctor told me, “There is no hope for you here, go home and have someone carry you around.”
One day workers from the Mossy Foot Clinic visited my neighbor, and then they stopped by my house. They came in and asked about me and told me to come to the clinic site to receive help. I was extremely weak but determined to go there. I came to the clinic site and Mescali treated me and taught me how to care for my feet. I followed the directions and in two years I was able to walk normally.
Many people have been amazed by my recovery and asked how I improved so quickly. When government officials came to the clinic, I share my story and how I am a model mossy foot patient. I have visited other clinics and villages teaching and counseling other patients.