Two boys, One Pair of Shoes

Kangai and Lemayani came to me at Endulen Mission in 1998. They were unique in that each had only one leg, Kangai, the right one and Lemayani, the left leg. They came to me at about the age of six or seven right from Endulen Hospital, where they had their legs amputated. A cow had fallen on Kangai, broken his leg and caused a gaping wound that was not treated. The family was very poor and not having the resources to pay hospital expenses, hoped that it would heal itself and by applying the traditional remedy of plastering cow dung on the open sore. It didn’t heal and gangrene set in. Finally, when he was running a high fever and in danger of dying, they took him to the hospital. The doctor saved Kangai’s life but not his leg.

Lemayani fell from a tree and got poked in the leg by a sharp stick. The wound festered and as in the case of Kangai, the family did not have the money for hospital care. They left it hoping the wound would heal. As in the case of Kangai, it did not heal and when the leg turned black they took him to the hospital where the doctor cut off the leg.

The families of the two boys requested that Kangai and Lemayani stay at the mission and attend the local primary school. The Maasai bomas of Kangai and Lemayani are within the Conservation area of Ngorongoro and about fifty miles apart and a considerable distance into the bush. They are no relation to each other. Over the years I’ve saved a considerable amount of money on socks and shoes. Since the boys take the same size, one pair of socks and a single pair of shoes does for both.

Kangai is the athlete of the two. As you see in the Education Video
on the side bar and in the pictures, he plays football using his stick as a second leg. In fact, having only one leg did not slow him down at all. He was one of our best footballers and much sought after when players were chosen for teams. Lamayani is the intellectual one and has done very well at his studies. They have both graduated secondary school now and are looking to continue their education.

4 thoughts on “Two boys, One Pair of Shoes”

  1. Thanks for that comment Heather. Yes, neither have the words: “give up” in their vocabulary.

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