SENEGAL, WEST AFRICA — It’s every parent’s joy to see their baby take their first steps. But for Binti and Ibrahima in Senegal, something troubled them about their daughter, Sira. She struggled to walk and stand. When Sira was six, her legs had bowed outwards.Her parents prayed for healing. One day, they heard of Mercy Ships that offered free, life-changing surgery to patients in Senegal.
Sira had a simple operation onboard their medical ship to straighten her legs. Now she can run, play with her friends, and go to school.
When Sira was growing up her legs started to be bowed. When the disease started, we brought her to our health post here. They gave us medicines but there was no improvement. So, we tried traditional ways to cure her. And I accepted that God will heal her whenever He is ready.
Children with bow legs and knock knees, It’s pretty obvious when you see them, how they walk, that they cannot walk very well. And they cannot run. Some of them are ashamed to go to school because they look different and they get mocked.
I was always worried because even at school her friends used to laugh at her. and I am supposed to protect her form those kinds of things.
In Europe or in the developed world they are treated very early, so they usually don’t require surgery, but here they are recognized very late and appropriate treatment is not available, so they develop into extreme forms which you wouldn’t see in Europe or America.
Sira’s parents became discouraged, but they never gave up. One day a friend told them about a team from a hospital ship that was seeing patients in a nearby town. Sira’s father put her on the back of a motorcycle and they began a journey toward healing. The road to recovery wasn’t easy, but with help from new friends, Sarah began to heal. Six weeks after her operation, Sarah’s cast came off.
Those legs have been in a cast for six weeks and look what’s happening.
This is the exciting part. This is her leaving the hospital. Almost like the first step into her future, really. Once back in their village or their home, they can be proud of themselves or proud of their children.
When I first saw her, I lifted her up and put her down and just kept looking at her again and again.
She was so very happy to show her legs to her friends. Things have changed, now she can go wherever she wants
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