SENEGAL — When Aicha first started walking, her grandmother noticed that the little girl’s legs were bowing. As she grew up, she loved being with other children — even though she couldn’t keep up. But a free surgery on board a Mercy Ship in Senegal changed her trajectory. “She can now do almost everything with her friends,” said Aicha’s grandmother Mymoona. “She can start school next month. I hope she learns as much as she can.” Watch Aicha’s brave journey through surgery, rehabilitation, and all the way back home.
Mynoona – Aicha’s Grandmother:
“Everyone loves Aicha. She plays with everyone. She’s always smiling. When she started walking we noticed that her legs were bowing. Even though her legs hurt she loves being with other children even when she can’t keep up.”
Just three months after Aicha’s birth her mother passed away suddenly.
Following her mother’s death she was taken in by her grandmother.
“That was a very dark time for us. We had to take care of Aicha.”
Unfortunately malnutrition caused Aicha’s legs to bow as she grew.
“We met some local doctors and they told us to take her to the hospital but they couldn’t operate because they didn’t have the right materials. We always hoped that someone would come to help us. Because you never know where help can come from.”
For Aicha that hope came when a traveller visited their village.
“He told us about a ship treating patients like her.”
After meeting with Mercy Ships volunteers, Aicha was scheduled for surgery aboard the Africa Mercy.
“When we arrived we were treated so well leading up to the surgery. The work that Mercy Ships does is incredible. They help so many people for free. We don’t give them anything. There is no better example of hope than this.”
Learning to walk again was no small feat, but Aicha was determined. It was hard to see her unable to do certain things. But today thank God she is healed. After going to the ship and getting surgery. She can now do almost everything with her friends. I’m very happy with her surgery. She can start school next month. I hope she learns as much as she can. Whether she becomes president or something else. I just wish her the best.
“If Aicha’s mother could see her she would be very proud. She is growing up so well. She is a very lucky girl.”
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 www.mercyships.org.
CONTACT: Diane Rickard, Int’l Media Relations Manager, Mercy Ships, Diane.firstname.lastname@example.org