Somaya’s Smile

25 November 2015

SIn early April, just two days before her baby daughter’s appointment to have her cleft lip and palate restored on the Mercy Ship, Neny’s house burned down while she was at work.  

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!