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Derina’s new leg

by on August 13, 2013
Members of the Fekat Circus check out Derina Mekonnen's new leg at the Fekat Circus in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on May 14, 2013.

Members of the Fekat Circus check out Derina Mekonnen’s new leg at the Fekat Circus in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on May 14, 2013.

BY MORGAN SPIEHS

Dereje falls to the ground. A smile fills his face and he starts screaming and clapping his hands. Everyone at the Fekat Circus is stunned. They’ve never seen this before. Derina is walking on two legs.

Derina never thought he could afford a prosthetic leg. At age 14 he was in a car accident and lost one leg. About 15 years ago, Derina started working as a guard at the Fekat Circus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Derina was adopted by the circus, circus coordinator Giorgia Giunta said.

“He is more than just a guard. He’s like a father,” Giunta said.

The circus has a troupe that does social work around Ethiopia. One Fekat project entertains the pediatric ward at Black Lion Hospital. Derina has only recently started clowning at the hospital.

With access to hospital workers, Derina asked how much a prosthetic leg would cost. The cost was not nearly as high as he thought.

Derina Mekonnen practices using a prosthetic leg in a hospital for the disabled in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on May 14, 2013.

Derina Mekonnen practices using a prosthetic leg in a hospital for the disabled in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on May 14, 2013.

Hebtamu Wendeson, Mickey Yaregal and Dereje Dange pretend that Derina's new prothetic leg is a guitar at the Fekat Circus in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on May 14, 2013.

Hebtamu Wendeson, Mickey Yaregal and Dereje Dange pretend that Derina’s new prothetic leg is a guitar at the Fekat Circus in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on May 14, 2013.

Derina trained to use the prosthetic until finally he was able to walk out of the hospital and into the Fekat Circus.

The men all reached down and touched the new limb. Derina took it off and handed it to the circus performers.

Their eyes were huge as they explored the foreign object. They pretended it was a guitar. They pretended it was a third leg on themselves.

Derina showed the men how he attaches the leg to himself and walked away. He has more people to show.

Dereje Dange reacts to seeing his friend walk on two legs for the first time after knowing him for many years at the Fekat Circus in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on May 14, 2013.

Dereje Dange reacts to seeing his friend walk on two legs for the first time after knowing him for many years at the Fekat Circus in Addis Ababa Ethiopia on May 14, 2013.

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From → Circus

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