Houssainatou came to the Africa Mercy sweet and smiling, regardless of the facial tumour that had been growing since she was 18 months old.
Starting as a toothache that became infected, a small mass in Houssainatou’s mouth developed. And as she grew, so did her tumour. She wasn’t able to attend school like her siblings because of her condition, and her father, a farmer who also teaches the Koran, desperately worried about his daughter’s future. Watching the tumour grow, little by little, Houssainatou’s family was terrified it would one day suffocate her if she didn’t get help.
“We were all worried. We worry all the time”, Houssainatou’s father said. “We have no money. The village clinic can’t help her. We can’t afford the kind of surgery she needs. We kept praying, and worrying, and looking for help”.
Thankfully, because of Mercy Ships partners, the Africa Mercy sailed into the port of Conakry, Guinea – and it was like Houssainatou’s father’s prayers were answered. She was admitted for surgery, and arrived on admission day smiling fearlessly, insisting that she was not nervous – “I’ll be asleep through it all anyway!” she exclaimed.
After Houssainatou’s surgery was successful, no one in the room could stop smiling – especially her father. “Today I am the happiest man in the world!” he exclaimed. “I’d never have the means to take care of surgery for my daughter – I can only get enough food to feed my family, but not extra to pay for surgery. I am so happy.”
Houssainatou’s operation marks the beginning of a new life she will now be able to live, free from the pain of her tumour. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook for more of this brave 10-year-old’s story!
Written By: Andrea Gilbert