Monday, August 1, 2016

The woman in a bowl

Like any other teenager, she is a bright, happy girl who one day dreams of one day opening her own shop.

But after being born with a mystery condition, Rahma Haruna has no limbs and suffers constant pain, as she lives most of her life in a plastic bowl.

The 19-year-old, from Kano, Nigeria, was born a healthy baby but when she turned six months old her growth came to a sudden halt and she stopped hitting key development milestones.

Her mother, Fadi, said: 'From six months when she learnt how to sit that was when it began. She didn’t learn how to crawl.

'She started with a fever and that was it. Then stomach pains. Then her body parts like hands and legs. She cannot use any if the ache strikes.'

Rahma’s family do their best to provide her with a fulfilling life and transport her around the village in a plastic bowl.

Rahma said: 'They help me a lot. How do they? They give me anything I need.'

She is particularly close to her 10-year-old brother Fahad, who dotes on his older sister.

Fahad said: 'I help her in many ways. Bathing her is another thing I do. And taking her out
everyday. “I feel happy whenever I see people helping her. I like taking to our relatives. She feels happy when we visit them.'

The cause of Rahma’s condition is unknown, despite her family working hard to secure a diagnosis.

Rahma’s father, Hussaini, explained: 'I’ve spent 15 years searching for the cure. I farm, go to the market and lots more looking for money to pay for her bills.

“I sold almost everything in my possession. I have spent more than one million naira (£2,600), so far. Only God knows the real amount of what I had spent.'

Doctors have been baffled by Rahma’s condition and some have even put it down to the teenager being struck down by a jinn - a supernatural being in Islam mythology.

Her family hope to get the attention of a charity or medical specialist who can help with the teen’s daily pain.

She recently received some generous gifts after being featured in the local press such as a donation of a wheelchair - and they have already made a big difference.

Her mother added: 'We once went to a supermarket and we met someone who bought her wheels. 'He snapped our photo and it was published in the local papers. Since then we have been getting help from people.'

And despite the daily challenges Rahma faces, the brave teenager is full of hope for her future and dreams of opening her own shop.

She said: 'I thank God in everything I do.

'I want to start a business. A grocery store and anything people buy, that is what I want.'

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Courtesy of a colleague

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