Adama’s Life-Saving Mercy Ships Surgery

SENEGAL, WEST AFRICA — When Adama was born in Senegal with a cleft lip it posed great danger to her life with the possibility of malnutrition and even starvation.  That was until she received life-saving surgery on board the Africa Mercy, run by Christian charity Mercy Ships.

Adama was born with a cleft lip, so she wasn’t able to breastfeed. This can lead to malnutrition of even starvation.

Binta and IssaAdama’s Grandparents:

“We worried a lot when we saw it because you cannot hold your baby and let her die of starvation in your hands.

“When she was a baby we used a small spoon. As she grew up I stopped using a spoon and she drank with a cup. But thanks to God she is still alive.”

Salimata ThiemSenegalese Day Crew:

“Children like Adama, in terms of our culture, most of the times these children are hidden. They don’t interact with outside people. They don’t often express themselves.”

Binta had accepted that this was Adama’s fate but when she heard about Mercy Ships, a spark of hope ignited.


“From my arrival they show me joy and kindness. It was like we were in my home. It was like I knew the people I found there.”


“When they arrive they are reluctant in the beginning. They are shy. They stick to their mothers. But later, with out friendliness with the kids they grow free. As they are free they start to play with us. They allow us to hold them.

Daniela Calle-BuenoVolunteer Pre-Op Nurse:

“One very special memory that I got to share with Adama was when we gave her admission teddy. We have some donations of little bears that we get to give all of our kiddos on admissions day. And when we gave her the bear the first thing she did was put it on her back, like all the mommas do in Africa do with their babies. And she walked around for the rest of her day so happy to show everybody her baby. And it was a lot of fun to play mom with her that day.”


“Our impact on them, I mean the work of the surgery, that impact is so important in their lives. That will change their lives entirely. After the surgery if you see them you see the difference. You see them smile and laugh. This is a great satisfaction.”


“When I saw Adam completely healed I was so joyful. The family was so happy to see her. She looks like everyone else. She looks like her young siblings. I cannot repay Mercy Ships the happiness they bring to me. I cannot express how happy she is.:”

One surgery can have immeasurable impact transforming the lives of families and communities.

About Mercy Ships

Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to deliver free, world-class healthcare services, capacity building, and sustainable development to those with little access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 55 developing countries, providing services valued at more than $1.7 billion and directly benefitting more than 2.8 million people. Our ships are crewed by volunteers from over 60 nations, with an average of over 1,200 volunteers each year. Professionals including surgeons, dentists, nurses, healthcare trainers, teachers, cooks, seamen, engineers, and agriculturalists donate their time and skills. With 16 national offices and an Africa Bureau, Mercy Ships seeks to transform individuals and serve nations one at a time. For more information click on

CONTACT: Diane Rickard, Int’l Media Relations Manager, Mercy Ships,

Read more news on Medical Ministry and World Missions on Missions Box.


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