Mohammed is four years old and lives in Tombolia, Guinea. Living with his family in a small community has been challenging ever since he was one year old, when his mother and father first noticed that his legs were beginning to bend outward. Though Mohammed’s mother wanted to take him to see a doctor, Mohammed’s father refused – he believed his son’s condition was result of witchcraft, and that he was cursed.
Instead of seeking help, Mohammed’s parent’s kept him inside as much as possible, hiding him because of his condition. But by the time Mohammed was three, it became clear that his condition was getting drastically worse, and something must be done. His mother, Simone, finally brought him to a hospital, but they found no hope there; the cost to fix Mohammed’s leg was an impossible amount that the family couldn’t possibly afford.
Another year passed, and Mohammed continued to be kept inside most of the time, hiding in shame, and not attending school. When he did get outside and see other kids, Simone tells us he was often laughed at and pointed out as different.
Then, hope sailed into Guinea with the arrival of the Africa Mercy. Mohammed’s mother brought him to the Mercy Ships screening in Palais de Peuple, and thanks to dedicated partners, Mohammed was admitted for surgery!
Now, Mohammed has received life-changing treatment onboard the Africa Mercy. Thanks to Mercy Partners, he has also continued to receive additional physiotherapy and rehabilitation treatment to help him learn to walk and run properly on his new straight legs. Thanks to the faithful monthly support of Mercy Partners, Mercy Ships can offer children like Mohammed so much more than a free surgery – we can offer him the tools to step into a new life.
“Surgery has changed our life. He’s happier, I’m happier. He loves himself more. He’s more confidant now. He can really play now. Before, he would get tired and come back after 10 minutes because the other kids would laugh at him. Now, I have to go find him at the end of the day and bring him back home because he’s so happy to be outside playing. I want him to go back to school and become a footballer.”
Simone, Mohammed’s Mother
Stories like Mohammed’s are only possible thanks to Mercy Partners, who we count on to provide long-term hope and healing to children like Mohammed.
Written By: Andrea Gilbert