Young Drissa lives in a town in northeast Guinea, where his father Mory works on a farm, growing maize and rice while raising his six sons with his wife. When Drissa was five-years-old, life changed dramatically for his family.
He was playing on the ground close to where his mother was cooking with a pot of hot oil hanging over the fire. While playing, Drissa tripped and fell into the hot oil, getting burns over his neck and chest.
His parents immediately took him to the clinic and spent the next two months with him in the hospital. Eventually, his wounds healed, but he still had painful burn contractures on his neck. It was hard for Drissa to move his neck or look around, and his family struggled with being unable to help him — Mory felt that they had very little hope to find healing for his son.
Before the accident, Drissa’s home was full of happiness, but after his accident, life became harder.
“I used to have enough money to buy food for my family — but afterwards, we had to find money to buy his medicine and pay for his care at the hospital,” Mory said. “I couldn’t provide enough food for my children anymore, so my wife had to start working in the mines.”
It was hard for Drissa too. When he went to school after his accident, his friends would laugh at him because of his burns.
Four years after Drissa’s accident, a friend who works in Conakry, Guinea’s capital city, came by to visit. When he saw Drissa’s neck, he told Mory about a hospital ship that was coming to Guinea with volunteers that would provide free surgery to those in need.
When Drissa received his date for surgery, he and his father left the rest of their family at home and travelled for two days to get to Conakry. When they came to the ship, Mory was amazed at the interaction between the volunteers and his son.
“I thought, ‘I have never experienced this type of kindness before.’ They took care of my son even while he was sleeping,” Mory said. “The way they treated him is the way that God wants us to be treated, so I can see that people on the ship really know God… When we go home, I will tell everyone that Mercy Ships is real — Drissa is the proof that help is possible, and that we are all equal and deserve to be treated with kindness.”
Now that Drissa is healing from the scars that caused him so much pain, Mory says that his son will be returning to school as soon as possible.
“By coming [to Mercy Ships], I have seen the importance of education,” Mory said. “What happens on the ship is not magic — it is possible because many people have studied and are now putting their education to use. I want my son to have that same education and to know that anything can be possible.”
Reported by Rose Talbot