Breaking barriers

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Despite his work ethic, intelligence, and passion for education, 19-year-old Bernard faced a future where he would not be merited by his hard-earned qualifications nor his determination to succeed. Instead, he would be judged by the genetic neurofibromatosis that had disfigured his face for over a decade. When … Read More

Motherhood overcomes the odds

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Yaya’s nine-year-old daughter, Moonira, can’t remember seeing her mother without the massive tumour that had stretched across her face for eight years. Yaya, now 27 years old, initially noticed something starting to grow on her jaw. The once-small tumour continued to grow aggressively until Yaya had difficulty eating … Read More

An orphan’s hope

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Victoria never lost hope. Not after her parents died when she was a girl, not after she was forced to start begging in the streets, and not even when she began developing a massive facial tumour when she was only 18 years old. Now, the resilient 23-year-old sat … Read More

She is only 12!

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When 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 the 12-year-old 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

A reason to smile

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Adorned with beads and colourful fabrics, Fadimatou enjoyed dressing up and ‘acting pretty’ like other girls. But, any glimpse of her smile was quickly wiped away by memories of teasing and ridicule—a reminder of the lies she’d been told too many times, that she isn’t pretty and shouldn’t smile. … Read More

The tiny warrior

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The first sight of three-month-old Paul revealed a feather-light bundle cradled in his desperate mother’s arms. His skin was paper-thin and his body remarkably tiny. He weighed just over two kilograms – less than he had when he was first born. The tiny baby was born with a … Read More

Radio New Zealand interview

LISTEN ONLINE to RNZ’s Nine to Noon interviews nurse Deb Adesanya about the special bond speaking the local dialect gave when interfacing with her patients, and other remarkable aspects of her five-month voluntary service on the Mercy Ship. Listen online     

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