Daouda was a toddler when his dad first noticed a little lump in his jaw. As he got older the painful benign tumour became so large, Daouda struggled to talk or even eat.
For years Daouda hid at home, leaving only when seeking treatment with his father. “I would cry when I looked at my child. There isn’t a single hospital in Dakar I haven’t been to, to try to get this treatment,” explained Hamady when they reached the Africa Mercy. “We have been to Mali, to Burkina Faso—everywhere.”
“Everybody on that road from my village to Dakar knows my child, and everybody’s going to see this, and know that he was cured,” declared Daouda’s dad
The Long-Awaited Surgery
People in their village told him, “This is stupid. Don’t go. Nobody can cure this. They won’t be able to cure this either.”
But Daouda’s dad said, “When they sent us to the ship, that is when I started to breathe in peace.”
The 13-year-old’s surgery was completed in half the time expected. Miraculously, the expected extensive reconstruction was unnecessary – meaning a swifter recovery.
“I think maybe we’ve finally done it,” sighed Douda’s as he held his waking son’s hand after surgery. Daouda was ready to leave the ship in just a fortnight.
No one at home could believe Daouda transformation until they saw his photo. “That day, nobody went to sleep in our house. They were clapping their hands and celebrating,” shares Hamady, who thinks he wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it with his own eyes either.
“Everybody on that road from my village to Dakar knows my child, and everybody’s going to see this, and know that he was cured.”
“Daouda’s story, how his father spent years trying to get care for his son, is why we do what we do,” said Dr Shrime. “That’s the stuff that drives me.”
Now the future looks very different for Daouda. “When I was at school, I was always the top of my class, but because of my condition, I had to stop in 2019,” he explained. “I thank you for what you have done for me.”
It’s only with your help that Mercy Ships can offer free surgery. In every port there are thousands of people who have been unable to access essential surgical care.