Samuel G. Dweh/freelance journalist (0886618906/ 0776583266/ [email protected])
Five year-old Favor Maphia George Sherman occasionally groans and grunts as her maternal grandmother gently pulls her ‘curved hand’ out from a silk cloth under which it t had been concealed.
“Show it for the cameraman,” grandmother Rebecca Elliot, 66, commanded her grandchild whose shyness reveals that she is quite conscious about her disability. The affected part is the lower section below the elbow. The hand was stiff like a dry wood, dotted with dislocated pieces of flesh.
“She fell off a septic tank when she was jumping with her friends in the neighborhood in Saye Town, here, on December 28, 2018,” grandmother Rebecca Elliot explained to the cameraman, the writer of this story, at the Liberia Media Center (LMC), located on 1st Street, Sinkor, Monrovia. She had brought her grandchild there in the hope that she would speak on a ‘radio station’ at the LMC. “We live behind this building,” she pointed beyond the LMC’s fence.
“We told her the LMC doesn’t have a Radio Station, so we told her to speak with you, a journalist, in the building,” Mr. Dixon Tunateh Pennie, LMC’s Lead Trainer, Media Business Development, told the writer, concerning the woman and her grandchild.
The ‘journalist’ appeared about one hour later.
The Liberia Media Center is an independent media empowerment NGO that also monitors published/broadcast local stories over radio stations and newspapers on news content and balance in reportage.
“We first took her to a country bone doctor who treated her with country medicine and tied the hand in a bamboo sticks,” Rebecca Elliot explained.
But the ‘country medicine’ could not ‘straighten’ little Favor’s hand.
“So, later, we took her to Dr. Kpoto, a bone doctor at St. Joseph Catholic Hospital on January 24 of this year,” grandmother Rebecca Elliot said in a plaintive tone and sobbed. “We were told Doctor Kpoto is Liberia’s best bone doctor, and he treats bone problems at several hospitals, including St. Joseph Catholic Hospital, and JFK (John F. Kennedy Medical Center), and works for MERLIN, a foreign international medical organization,” grandmother Rebecca Elliot narrated. The second hospital is State-owned.
Little Favor spent three weeks under the medical care of ‘Dr. Kpoto’, her grandmother recalled.
“But, my grand-daughter’s hand can’t straighten since Dr. Kpoto worked on it since she was discharged from the St. Joseph Catholic Hospital,” the 66-year-old grandmother cried.
So, why was she at the Liberia Media Center?
“I’m here to talk on the radio station here, to appeal to the Government of George Weah, NGOs, and all other humanitarians to help in straightening my grand-daughter’s hand,” she said.
Grandmother Rebecca Elliot was on the ‘SOS Call tour’ with her grand-daughter because neither of the kid’s biological parents had money to fix the child’s dislocated bone.
Favor’s grandmother explained to the writer: “Her father, Tom Sherman, doesn’t have the amount for treatment. He’s a mason’s helper on building field. Her mother, Yeatie Quiah, isn’t working.”