Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Next Step

Life’s journey for Phephile Khumalo is taken one step at a time. But for this seven-year-old in the Bulembu childcare program, each physical step has been taken only with the aid of crutches. Phephile was a baby when a snake bit her. The bite caused permanent muscle damage, preventing her foot from developing normally. But Phephile is ready to take the next step, and it will come a little bit easier when she receives a prosthetic leg.

Dr. Detlef Brock, his wife, Angelica and Bulembu’s Registered General Nurse, Wiseman Sisamala work together to make a mold of Phephile’s leg so she can be fitted with a prosthetic leg.

Dr. Detlef Brock and his wife, Angelica, had visited various hospitals in Swaziland and while in the country, made a stop in Bulembu. During his visit, Dr. Brock, who specializes in pediatric surgery and sports medicine in Leipzig, Germany, was able to make a fiberglass cast of Phephile’s leg. This lightweight cast was then removed and taken back to Germany where he will create a prosthetic leg, fit specifically for Phephile.
Wiseman comforts a frightened Phephile while she’s being fitted with a mold that will be used to make a prosthetic leg. 
Dr. Brock’s wife, Angelica, who is a physical therapist and Wiseman Sisamala worked with Phephile to keep her calm and comforted during the mold fitting. Wiseman, originally from Zimbabwe and a Registered General Nurse has been working in the Bulembu Clinic for one year, so he is quite familiar with Phephile and her struggles to walk. Angelica is an expert at helping children strengthen muscles that, for one reason or another, have not developed properly. Initially frightened, Phephile was unharmed during the fitting and happily accepted a tasty treat when it was over!

Phephile winces during the process of being fitted with a mold that will be used to make a prosthetic leg. 

Phephile’s mold was created when Dr. Brock and Angelica paid a visit to Bulembu in mid-April. She’ll be fitted with her prosthetic leg in approximately one month. And when that day comes, Phephile will be able to walk and run with her friends. Her crutches will be a thing of the past, and the next step will be cause for celebration! 

Wiseman shows Phephile the mold that will be taken back to Germany to prepare the prosthetic leg she’ll receive in May. 

Angelica offers Phephile a tasty treat after the fitting process which will lead to a prosthetic leg. 
A teary-eyed Phephile enjoys a tasty treat after the fitting process to make her new prosthetic leg.

Phephile smiles alongside Angelica and Dr. Detlef Brock.

Phephile Khumalo smiles knowing she will soon be able to walk without the aid of her crutches. 


  1. This story has so many amazing things in it. The story of Bulembu is still an amazing story in itself, so many people and organizations coming together for the benefit of those who cannot sustain themselves without outside help. Another amazing thing in the story of Phephile is the physician/ physical therapist team who so generously and so perfectly have helped Phephile - they definitely know the rewards of serving others. This could be a story out of someone's Bible - the lame can now walk - this is beautiful. This child's life has been changed forever. I would think that the lives of all those who have participated in care and treatment of this little girl also know the rewards of reaching beyond the expected ordinary routine and seeing their labors so richly blessed.

    These pictures show a clean, well organized facility and beautiful interaction between Phephile and her caregivers. Thank you AGAIN Theresia for directing our attention to the wonderful and fulfilling things that are happening in Bulembu. God is using your talents and your words in a remarkable way!

  2. Theresia, wonderful post......I want "to second" every word that Steph has written......amazing story.....awesome doctors.......awesome plan that is in store for Phephile!!! Tremendous blessing for all of the involved...Simply shocking to me that all of this is happening in Bulembu......GOD'S BLESSINGS.......and thanks to you, Theresia, for sharing this with us.

  3. Can't wait to see the sequel. T:)

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