His feet and legs had doubled in size since he went to bed the night before in a village in the West African country of Liberia.
Wilmot tried to slip on a pair of pants, but they were too tight. He tried to put on a pair of shoes, but they were too small. He chose a pair of shorts and ran barefoot to Father.
“My feet are big!” he said.
Father looked worried.
“Does it hurt?” he asked.
“No, nothing hurts,” the boy said. “Just my feet are really big. I can’t wear pants or shoes.”
Father thought the swelling might go down on its own, and he suggested that they wait a few days. But after a week, Wilmot’s feet were bigger than ever. Father called the hospital. An ambulance arrived with lights flashing and siren shrieking. The trip to the hospital took 30 minutes.
At the hospital, a physician ran tests but couldn’t find anything wrong. Leaving Wilmot at the hospital, Father returned to the village to find Nakontee, an old woman who prayed for people for money. Nakontee told Father to give her U.S.$30 for a bar of soap, a towel, and a jar of olive oil. “When the boy comes home, he should use the soap whenever he takes a bath or washes his hands,” she said. “He should use the towel to dry himself. After baths, rub his body with the olive oil.”
Then the woman prayed for Wilmot. When she finished, she told Father to forget the soap, towel, and olive oil.
“I just had a vision,” she said. “The soap, towel, and olive oil won’t help the boy. He has been cursed by someone who lives near here, so you must take him far away. That is the only way that he will be cured.”