Sunday, March 27, 2011
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
Mercy Ships is deeply saddened by the tragic events that occurred today during medical screening at the Freetown National Stadium when a crowd stormed the gate resulting in several injuries and one life lost.
Mercy Ships personnel working at the site attended the injured and accompanied them to local hospitals.
"Our hearts and prayers are with the individuals and families of those affected by today's events. The occurrence of this incident in the course of activities intended to restore lives is tragic. We move forward with tremendous sadness, but great determination, to assist as many people as possible in the next ten months," stated Mercy Ships Founder, Don Stephens.
Mercy Ships exists to serve the forgotten poor and has served Sierra Leone five times over the past two decades, also helping establish two land-based health care facilities. For the next ten months, Mercy Ships will be providing surgeries for qualified patients while working alongside the Sierra Leonean Government to support its five-year healthcare plan and strengthen the functions of the national health system.
Former patient Joseph Fofanah presents the flag at arrival ceremonies in Sierra Leone.
Mercy Ships played a very important role in Joseph's life. He was born with a cleft palate and cleft lip. “He was having a problem,” said his mother, Isatu. “Any liquid we fed him would come back out his nose.”
This serious birth defect negatively impacts the lives of many African children. Fortunately, Isatu realized that her son needed a medical procedure to repair the cleft. However, the cost of the surgery was more than she and her husband could afford. “But the pastor and the doctor who delivered Joseph told me not to worry,” said Isatu. “A Mercy Ship is just on the way.”
Joseph had his first surgery in 2002, when he was almost four month s old, and he received a second surgery the following year. He has no memory of his problem or of his Mercy Ships experiences, but the success of these procedures is evident in his brilliant smile.
Scouting is very popular in Sierra Leone, and Joseph is a five-year member of Boy Scout Team 3. “I really love to march,”he says, and he's looking forward to camping with his troop.
When asked what he thought about being onboard the Africa Mercy , he grinned and exclaimed, “I'm excited, and I really want to stay here!”
Story by Elaine B. Winn
Edited by Nancy Predaina