She is only 12!

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When 12-year-old Kaltoumi first arrived on the Africa Mercy, she likely had three months, or less, to live. The massive facial tumour she’d carried for over five years threatened to starve or slowly suffocate her. An early death was inevitable for Kaltoumi if there was no immediate medical intervention, … Read More

Love in any language

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These days, Pirongia-born nurse Melanie Allen begins each shift with a two-minute walk to work – down several flights of stairs and into the hospital deck of the world’s largest civilian hospital ship, Africa Mercy. In February Melanie joined the volunteer crew of the 16,000 tonne Mercy Ships … Read More

The teacher’s burden

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It seemed like a small thing, so Lalao* paid scant attention to the small bump on her face. Instead of disappearing over time as she expected, the swelling on the Malagasy schoolteacher’s face grew and grew. Over 14 years the benign tumour developed until it resembled a huge … Read More

Removing Marthe’s burden

“We weren’t sure if she’d come back alive,” Marthe’s friends and family declared when they welcomed her back home. She was returning from a long stay on the Africa Mercy, over four hours away, where surgeons removed tumour weight more than 13 kilos from her back. A massive burden had literally … Read More

Isabelle’s ‘toothache’

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Isabelle lives in a small village in the mountainous centre of Madagascar’s far north. The surrounding harsh terrain makes the area almost inaccessible, especially during the wet season when the dirt roads become mires of red mud. The 13-year-old loves her village life, and her favourite thing to … Read More

Removing Jocelin’s burden

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VIDEO:Jocelin hid his chin with a scarf to cover his shame; he was afraid of what the other children would say to him. But now he is bold and cheeky and delightful as he returns home with his overwhelmed Dad.

Mariette

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Click to watch on Vimeo (01:41) The mass grew for 30 years on Mariette’s back, finally reaching 4.5Kg (10lb). The size of a watermelon. It weighed heavy on Mariette’s body, mind and spirit. When she tried to play with local children, neighbours would tell the children “the monster … Read More