Mates through adversity

Sai’douba and Alason have been through a lot together and as a result, have developed a very unique friendship. Alason was there the day that Sai’douba’s life changed drastically.

When he was 18 years old, Sai’douba was horribly burned in a gas explosion at the garage he worked at, leaving his legs frozen in a bent position. Since the accident, his injuries have made Sai’douba depend entirely on his friend.

“If I want to go to the bathroom Alason is the one that helps me go,” Sai’douba said. “If I want to eat, Alason is the one who comes to help me. Whatever I want to do, Alason is the one that helps me, because I can’t do anything by myself.”

For the past eight months, Alason has been Sai’douba’s support and legs, caring for his friend and carrying him wherever they went.

“When I carry him, he’s a little bit heavy, but no one will help him if I don’t help him,”Alason said. “Sometimes my muscles get sore, but I have to care for him. Whenever I look at what happened to him, I want to cry inside my heart. Sai’douba’s injuries kept him in pain, but his inability to work caused him a lot of frustration.

“Before this accident, I was working at the garage,” Sai’douba said. “I worked a lot and made a little money. I would take that money and bring it home for my mom to buy food. I know my parents don’t have enough money so I’m very scared about it.”

One day, Sai’douba heard about a hospital ship that was providing free surgeries to those in need and shared the news with his friend. Alason carried Sai’douba to the ship knowing that it was his one chance at possibly finding healing. In preparation for his rehab, they measure the severity of Sai’douba’s burn contractures.

When they arrived, Sai’douba met with the volunteer medical staff measured the severity of his burn contractures. The next day, much to Alason and Sai’douba’s joy, he was scheduled to receive surgery onboard the Africa Mercy. After a four hour surgery that helped straighten both of his legs and his arm, Sai’douba was on his way to recovery.

“When I saw him coming out of surgery, I could see his legs were straight,” Alason said. “I now have hope he can walk again. He’ll be able to do everything for himself.”

After a couple days of rest, Sai’Douba began his rehabilitation, focusing on one goal — to walk again. It took a lot of practice and determination, but soon Sai’Douba was back on his feet, walking on his own for the first time since the accident.

“I’m so happy, after such a long time I’m walking again! So many people are encouraging me,” Sai’douba said. “I feel confident now. After a few months, I’ll be able to do everything I used to do. I can work, earn money, and provide for my parents!”