SEKOUBA HAD NO HOPE OF GETTING THE SURGERY HE REQUIRED
It was just an ordinary morning when Sekouba first noticed a little button-sized growth in his mouth. He showed his mother who told him not to worry about it, that it would probably go away.
He tried to forget about the rapidly growing lump it but that didn’t make it go away. In just 12 months it was as big as a tennis ball, filling Sekouba’s cheek, significantly impacting young Sekouba’s life.
People taunted him and the tumour drew endless stares. ‘What’s that in your mouth?’ they asked, and curiosity soon turned into scornful laughter.
As Sebouba was mercilessly teased, school became unbearable so he stayed at home.. His friends refused to play and even his brothers were ashamed to be seen with him. Every day Sekouba was painfully aware that he was the only boy his age in the village NOT going to school—and everyday school was the only place he wanted to be.
Hoping to find medical care, Sekouba’s distraught family took him to the largest hospital in their region, but no one who could help. But their cries for a cure were miraculously answered when they heard that the hospital ship was coming to Guinea, West Africa.
On the day he came to Mercy Ships, 12-year-old Sekouba held a faded photograph with frayed edges. It showed was a younger, smiling boy with an unblemished face.
‘This used to be me,’ Sekouba sadly explained.
When the Mercy Ships medical screening team accessed him for surgery, the future changed; Sekouba was handed an appointment card for a free operation onboard the Africa Mercy to remove the benign tumour that had turned his life upside down.
‘EVERY TIME I PRAY I THANK GOD FOR THIS SHIP’
When Sekouba’s mum saw his restored face she was overwhelmed with joy.
‘Every time I pray, I thank God for this ship,’ she declared. ‘I don’t know what we would have done without it.’
This is just one example of how you can help change the life of a little boy who was facing a very bleak future.
Sekouba was only onboard the ship for month for his surgery and recovery — but in that time, you helped change his life forever. With his tumour gone and his face healed, Sekouba’s future is looking very bright indeed.
MT EDEN NURSE PLAYS A KEY ROLE IN FINDING PATIENTS NEEDING SURGERY
The Mercy Ships Screening Team goes mobile to find isolated people. Vivien (left) from Auckland explains there is lots of travelling on bumpy roads and long hours, to reach out-of-the-way, desperate people in West Africa’s interior towns and villages. ‘People lack money and transport for even basic healthcare, which often ends up becoming a much bigger problem if left untreated. Something that would be an inconvenience for us in New Zealand can become life-threatening here.’
Despite the overwhelming need, Vivien has great hope. ‘The longer I am with Mercy Ships, the more I realise what is going on behind the scenes – the people involved in making things work,’ she explained.
Vivien has volunteered three times with Mercy Ships, most recently for a 10-month tour-of-duty during which time she met Sekouba.
Right now there are many more people waiting for essential surgery in our next port.
Can we count on you to help us provide life-changing surgery for more children like Sekouba? Could you find $35, or $75 or perhaps $100 to help provide a life changing operation?