Little two-year-old Marie Sylvie fell into the boiling oil. Her frantic, desperate cries alerted her parents, who rushed to her side.
Felicie, her mother, was in shock. Angelo, her father, felt heartsick. “I am sad when I look at my daughter because of all the scars,” he said. Marie Sylvie’s left back, side and arm were a painful-looking blend of discoloration. She could not lift her arm – heartbreaking for a lively little girl who loves to play games and hug her baby sister.
Felicie said, “All we could think about is how to find a solution to repair her.”
They tried. Oh, how they tried! For five years, this little family in Madagascar became all too familiar with desperation, disappointment, and hopelessness. The surgery to separate Marie Sylvie’s arm from her side would cost over $100 USD, an amount they simply did not have. “The problem was always the money. Always the money,” said Felicie.
The search for a more affordable solution consumed every ariary (the currency of Madagascar) that they had. Every time they heard about a doctor who could possibly do the surgery for a reduced fee, they made the long 16-hour roundtrip journey to the capital city of Antananarivo. On two occasions, they were given a date for surgery, but the doctor didn’t show up.
They also traveled to the southeastern part of Madagascar. But, after a day and a half of travel and two weeks of waiting, the story was the same as before – no doctor, no solution. Felicie says, “We were disappointed and angry! But we could not do anything, because we wanted to find a solution for our daughter.”
Mercy Ships follows the 2000-year old model of Jesus, who gave hope and healing freely. Little Marie Sylvie came to our hospital ship with nothing. And she received healing, no strings attached.
On her seventh birthday, Marie Sylvie raised her arm high to hit a pink balloon. Now she can play games and hug her baby sister. What a wonderful birthday gift – a gift provided by people around the world who volunteered, donated, and prayed!