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“To me, my prosthesis is my real leg”

Emergency Rehabilitation
Haiti

Maryse, 44, was injured in the earthquake that struck Haiti ten years ago, causing her to lose her right leg. Since then, she has tried to hold her head high. And she’s no longer ashamed of her prosthesis.

Maryse, 44, was injured in the earthquake that struck Haiti ten years ago, causing her to lose her right leg.

Maryse, 44, was injured in the earthquake that struck Haiti ten years ago, causing her to lose her right leg. | © Davide Preti/HI

"My prosthesis is not really a problem for me, the opposite, in fact - I'm proud of it! Without a prosthesis, my life would be much more complicated," explains Maryse, who sells food and charcoal from a small stall outside her home.

Maryse had her right leg amputated two weeks after the earthquake. When she developed a life-threatening infection, doctors were left with no other option. Four months after the operation, Maryse was fitted with her first prosthesis and learned to walk again in the rehabilitation centre supported by HI. The organisation also helped Maryse open a small store.

My life hasn't changed much

"I thought about my children and realised I couldn’t let my amputation end it all. I haven't shed a single tear. I've always looked on the bright side and I’ve had a lot of support.

For Maryse, life has turned out to be not so different since the earthquake: "It's true, I could run and move faster before, but apart from that, my life is pretty much the same. I manage. I still have my little shop. My children go to school. And best of all, I’m still alive. Of course, I have a disability. But today, my prosthesis has become a real leg - my leg.”

When she meets other people with disabilities, she suggests they get fitted with an orthopaedic device. Maryse can’t imagine life without her prosthesis now. And that's what worries her: "I’m dependent on my prosthesis, and it wears out. It needs to be adjusted regularly. It’s always on my mind.” 

HI continues to support Maryse and in 2019 she was fitted with a new prosthesis.

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