Society

The Girl Who Lives In The Plastic Bowl (Photos)

| by Sarah Zimmerman
19-year-old Rahma Haruna19-year-old Rahma Haruna

A Nigerian teenager was born with a rare condition that left her with no limbs. She is forced to spend most of her life in a plastic bowl carried around by her family members.

Rahma Haruna, 19, was born healthy, but at six months old a mystery condition stopped her body growth. Although her face continued to grow, her body remained permanently the size of a six-month-old, and she failed to hit any key developmental milestones, according to The Daily Mail.

"From six months when she learnt how to sit that was when it began," said Haruna's mother. "She didn’t learn how to crawl. She started with a fever and that was it. Then stomach pains. Then her body parts like hands and legs. She cannot use any if the ache strikes."

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The cause of the teenager's condition is unknown, despite her family spending years trying to secure a diagnosis. "I’ve spent 15 years searching for the cure," said Haruna's father to the Mail. "I farm, go to the market and lots more looking for money to pay for her bills.

"I sold almost everything in my possession," he went on. "I have spent more than [$3,400] so far. Only God knows the real amount of what I had spent."

Doctors remain unsure as to why Haruna stopped growing. Some claim that she was struck by a jinn, a supernatural spirit in Islamic mythology. 

Her family hopes that they will get the attention of a charity or medical specialist that can help relieve the teen's daily pain. Haruna still maintains that she has a fulfilling life and is grateful to her family for providing her with everything she needs. Her 10-year-old brother is responsible for most of her care, bathing, and trips into the village. 

In 2013, the Mail reported on another similar case that garnered national attention. Brooke Greenberg, despite actually being 20-years-old, remains physically and cognitively similar to a toddler. She is unable to talk, still has her baby teeth, and requires 24-hour care. Doctors were baffled by Greenberg's case and, like the girl above, she also has not yet received a formal diagnosis.

Unlike Greenberg, Haruna has developed cognitively and is aware of her condition. Despite challenges, she still has high hopes for the future.

"I thank God in everything I do," she told the Mail. "I want to start a business. A grocery store and anything people buy, that is what I want."

Sources: Daily Mail (2) / Photo credit: Barcroft Images via Daily Mail 

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