Little Solomon.

A report from Zambia....


Few stories have touched the hearts of our supporters so much as the recent case of the Muketiwa family living in Chisamba Village.

Chisamba is about 150 kilometres from Lusaka, the capital of Zambia and about 350 kilometres from Monze, where we have the school. The family lives in a poor rural village and depends on small-scale farming for their livelihood. Mrs. Muketiwa spends the whole day on the Lusaka-Ndola highway selling oranges, watermelons, pumpkins and tomatoes. Mr. Muketiwa is unemployed except for some piece-work in Chisamba where commercial farmers grow crops on a large scale.

The youngest of their three children is Solomon, now four years old. Early in his young life, he was diagnosed with a tumor on the side of his face. Doctors who biopsied the tumor observed that it was fast-growing and gave Solomon chemotherapy yet the tumor continued to progress. Doctors at the university teaching hospital decided on a surgical operation, without success. After discovering that the tumor germinated again, the doctors had no further option but to advise Mr. & Mrs. Muketiwa to seek treatment in South Africa, and provided medicines just to make Solomon comfortable.

These loving parents sold all they had to raise money for Solomon's treatment. They raised enough to get Solomon into a Zimbabwean surgical clinic. Two quick operations were done by the surgeons and it appeared as if they had won the case. After the two operations, the Muketiwas patiently stayed at the Zimbabwean clinic around the clock with their son. Despite the weariness etched in them, they always showed in appreciation of the doctors' work, and thanked God for His love and care.

Zambians have no health insurance. All their money was finished, and it took the kindness of the surgeon to write off some of his bills. At this stage it looked as if all was well with Solomon and both the doctors and Solomon's parents were thrilled.

But barely six months later, the tumor on Solomon's side face re-appeared again, now showing signs of fast progression. Within two months it covered Solomon's left side face leaving him with peripheral visionary of his left eye. His speech was now completely distorted as the speech organs swelled up. The extended tumor has displaced his mouth too, pushing it to the extreme left. It is a sad sight to see. This latest development on Solomon has left his parents devastated.

No money for more treatment means they sorrowfully watch poor Solomon lose his beautiful facial shape. At one point Solomon's parents were in danger of losing their faith as they were tempted to doubt whether God had indeed been ignoring them. And yet, despite the complexity of poor Solomon's condition and failure by the doctors, the parents' devotion to their son is admirable. Parental love has developed into an uncanny intuitive union with little Solomon - they have developed an inner, mysterical, unspoken communication, so much that they are able to tell when Solomon is not comfortable or when he needs something. They are unable to communicate in any normal way.

Despite all this Solomon's mother has been wonderful. Sticking by her child's side throughout the whole ordeal, she is giving her all to Solomon. Solomon's parents feel their son has a right to education despite his condition. They feel Solomon could get the best of education at Southern Hope School for the deaf.

However, he would require the services of a specialist for an intensive speech therapy treatment. And yet, say our contacts in Zambia, as long as an individual has a chance for reasonable quality of life it is worth doing whatever is possible to help. In Solomon's case HHI has been asked to step in and pay for radical treatment.

23rd February 2002 - Because of the difficulties of constant contact with Zambia, it has been difficult to establish exactly what the latest situation is with this problem. We do know that money has been sent out to pay for Solomon's treatment, and for the cost of travelling the long distance to the hospital, and for his parents and one of our workers to go with him. We believe they have reached hospital in Harare. However, we are still waiting to hear the result of the trip. But, as little Solomon's case has caused such widespread interest in Britain, we shall bring you the latest news the very moment we have it.