Neny and Somaya were safe, but they lost every one of their belongings. The precious Mercy Ships appointment card was burned, and Neny thought they had lost the chance for Somaya to receive the free surgery she needed.
Neny was about to abandon all hope when she heard that the Mercy Ship was returning to Madagascar for a second season of service. In October she took Somaya to another screening near her village, and sure enough they were given another appointment for surgery.
It was the second chance for her little girl that Neny had prayed for!
Cleft palates are repaired through surgery but the journey for patients does not end with surgery. Weeks of speech therapy take place to teach patients how to adapt to their new palates. Jillian Davis, Africa Mercy’s dietician and infant feeding coordinator explains the importance of speech therapy:
“Someone with unrepaired cleft palate has an opening between the mouth and nasal cavity making speech difficult. It is my role to work with these patients after surgery teaching them different oral motor, airflow and sound exercises. It is my goal that they will be able to pronounce sounds and words better and that other people will be able to understand their speech better in conversation.”
We hope little one’s like Somaya will continue to heal and one day be able to speak every word with ease!
There’s BlackFriday and CyberMonday, but do you know about GivingTuesday?
Held on December 1st #GivingTuesdayCA is a new Canadian movement for giving and volunteering, taking place each year after Cyber Monday. The “Opening day of the giving season,” it is a day where charities, companies and individuals join together to share commitments, rally for favourite causes and think about others.
What is Mercy Ships Canada doing this year?
Mercy Ships volunteers make a lifestyle out of giving and over four days we are going to introduce you to some of our Canadian and international volunteers and describe what they do. Who knows, they could end up being your neighbour!
Starting on Black Friday and leading up to #GivingTuesdayCA our social media accounts will be filled with stories of volunteers giving back, with a special announcement being made on December 1st (GivingTuesdayCA)!
How can you get involved?
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter and help us share the story of our volunteers and friends with your online community! Sharing is a great way you can give back, because the more Canadians know about Mercy Ships, the more people we can help and the more lives we can change.
He studied diplomacy and public relations and says it was expected in his culture to return home, find a good paying job and care for his family.
However, Femi had a curiosity about missions and pursued training at a Disciple Training School through Youth With A Mission in Ghana.
There he met many Mercy Shippers who were committing to Mercy Ships long-term. They shared about Mercy Ships mission of bringing hope and healing to the world’s forgotten poor.
“It was hard for me to picture a ship, treating people but I began to look into it. I went on the internet and I looked at pictures of patients before and after and they were almost unbelievable for me. I couldn’t believe it was true.”
Femi decided to join the ship in Benin in 2009 as day crew and after serving two field services as day crew he decided that he was being called to the ship full time. He served for 15 months as a receptionist before moving to the deck department.
“I had no knowledge of what the maritime industry is like, I knew almost nothing about sea faring.”
Two years later and Femi has climbed the ranks from deckhand to deck rating working towards an able seafarer license and will soon be able to apply for an officer of the watch license. Femi has had the benefit of training sponsored by Mercy Ships, which he can use internationally should he decide to pursue a career as a sailor.
“The good thing about working in the deck department is that there is opportunity to learn every day. Just when you think you know it all there is still an opportunity to learn.”
According to Femi, it is the drive to excellence that sets Mercy Ships apart from other organizations.
“I see excellence in all that we say and do. People’s motivation and creativity is normally tied to the income they get and here is a place where you serve without being paid yet you strive to do everything with excellence. That’s really special.”
We are so proud of Femi and all volunteers onboard the Africa Mercy, they truly are the lifeblood of Mercy Ships!
Are you interested in volunteering? CLICK HERE for current opportunities!
We are excited to announce our new partnership with Eat. Feed. Love.! Eat Feed Love is committed to feeding a person in need with every purchase made, and was created with the purpose of aiding in the fight against world hunger through the discovery of great food.
Through Artisan Snack Box Subscriptions to the Taste Club!
Dandelion chocolate. Rhubarb relish. These carefully curated boxes boast every culinary must-have your cabinets desire.
– The Taste Club delivers a box of hand-selected and hard-to-find snacks (like Mast Brothers chocolate, Stumptown Coffee Roasters coffee, and L’Epicurian jam) to you every month. Hunting down new culinary treats is now a thing of the past.
– Not yet a pro in the kitchen? Have no fear. Each carefully curated box comes with recipes that feature your new ingredients – and will also inspire your inner chef.
– For each shipment sent to you, Eat. Feed. Love. donates proceeds to a different organization or cause.
For two months of the year the Tasting Club will feature Mercy Ships and the country we are working in.
You can sign up to have an Artisan Box delivered to your door monthly which will contain all you need to host a dinner party during the months we are featured – complete with recipes!
This December the theme of the box will be Madagascar, with food items and recipes hailing from the beautiful island nation. This is a great opportunity to bring friends and family together to enjoy delicious food and learn more about where Mercy Ships is serving and what we do (a letter will be included in the box).
Get 50% off the first month with the coupon code: mercyships
A big THANK YOU to everyone at Eat. Feed. Love. we are grateful to have the opportunity to partner with you and can’t wait for others to get involved to help improve nutrition and bring food to those in need!
The morning sun is already hot, and the lines of people waiting to have their dental problems relieved are long. In the island-nation of Madagascar, dental care is expensive and beyond the reach of most. Outside the local hospital gates, 17-year-old Ronaldo stands with the men, waiting in a line to be examined by the Mercy Ships dental team. Next to them stretches a restless queue of children of all ages accompanied by their mothers.
In the final column, the women patients stand beneath the shade of their colorful umbrellas. From the crowd of approximately 300, about 65 hopefuls will receive dental care today. The rest with treatable conditions are given colored wristbands for dental appointments on following days.
Every eye is on the handful of little yellow appointment cards held by dental team supervisor Robbie Lerma as she begins screening and selecting patients. She randomly stops at one line and then another, examining patients here and there.
Her seemingly haphazard selection makes it pointless for people in line to “save a place” for someone else. The result is that each person waiting has an equal opportunity to receive dental care. Balancing these kinds of factors requires God’s daily wisdom when faced with so many in need.
Ronaldo lingers in line with his schoolbag slung over his shoulder, hoping for an appointment ticket and the opportunity for serious decay around and between his front teeth to be treated without charge. He explains, “I have a sister who came here before. She said, ‘Go there if you want to fix your teeth.’ So I came to see what they can do. I thought my front teeth would fall out. I don’t have money to spend at a dentist. Thanks to God I’ve been received. I did not expect it because it was a long line, and I was at the end.”
When asked what caused the cavities in his teeth, Ronaldo replied, “I don’t really know, but one of my friends said it’s because I’m drinking really hot water and, after that, really cold water. I often do that.” Ronaldo no longer feels pain in his front teeth, so he does not realize that his health is a ticking time-bomb. He is just concerned about preserving his fabulous smile.
After receiving his numbered appointment card, Ronaldo strolls into the Mercy Ships purpose-renovated dental clinic within the Malagasy hospital. He is examined by lead dentist Saulo Gamarra Gonzales (PER) who is pleased that Mercy Ships gives quality dental care to the poor. “I will treat these patients the same way I would treat my patients at home,” he declares.
Dr. Gamarra explains the seriousness of Ronaldo’s condition to him. Decay has eaten away at his front teeth’s enamel and caused a major infection to spread from the damaged nerve. As a result, there is now a fistula or split in his gum above the affected tooth.
It requires immediate intervention. After considering Ronaldo’s age, the dentist decides to perform a root canal to save his front tooth from extraction. He will also fill the other cavities.
Antibiotics to control the severe infection accompanied the dental work, and Ronaldo got the result he really hoped for – the restoration of his engaging grin.
He is graduating from high school soon, and Ronaldo hopes for a career in Customs and Immigration. He has leadership ambitions, and he really feared entering his adulthood and future profession with his front teeth missing. “I’m not going to lose my teeth when I’m older! Thanks for helping us in need!” he said.
The delighted Ronaldo gives a relived laugh and scrutinizes his stunning smile from all angles in the dental clinic mirror. “My teeth are not bad! I can smile with people, and the girls like it!”
Story by Sharon Walls