Globally, stroke is a significant contributor to burden of disease and, in developing countries, is a leading cause of death. Little has been documented about how patients in these contexts 'do' in terms of wellbeing, quality of life, and physical and psychosocial functioning after stroke. Recovery is assumed to follow a predictable trajectory, determined by stroke severity, type and location. This does not take into account contextual factors, which profoundly shape how people adapt following, recover from and live with a catastrophic illness. This ethnographic research elucidates the ways in which contextual affordances (perceived opportunities that can shape action) shape recovery and quality of life following stroke.