Greetings from Sierra Leone, West Africa for the last time. As many enjoyed hearing the story of Kalimu, I decided I will write another one – this time of an orthopaedic patient named Tamba Foday from Koidutown, Kono.
As a young boy, an accident occurred causing much damage to his right leg and foot. All this took place during the civil war in the nation. As a child, he was not able to attend school as his mother did not have the money for school fees. Later on, he went to live with his uncle in the city. They sent him to school. Though, instead of school being a place to learn, he instead felt much ridicule from the other children. They would provoke him and make fun of him because of the problem with his leg and foot. In addition, the long walk to school was difficult on his right foot and later he stopped attending classes.
While in the market in January, they heard on the radio in their local language that Mercy Ships would be screening patients at the local government hospital. He wasn’t able to get there on the first day but made it on the third and last day and was issued a surgeon screening card for March. We had sent our screening team up-country to five locations and made the commitment that due to the poverty and lack of access to medical care; we would pay all the transport costs to and from the ship in Freetown. So Tamba, boarded the rented ‘poda poda’ and travelled for the first time ever to Freetown. After their arrival in Freetown, Tamba along with potential orthopaedic patients were screened by our orthopaedic surgeons.
Tamba shared with me that he didn’t believe he would get any assistance. Though after being on the ship and seeing the other patients come and go from the operating rooms, his belief that he would get help increased greatly. He commented that “the nurses took good care of me, they give you your medicines and people visit you”
I didn’t really connect much with Tamba until he was at the HOPE Center where he lived for over three months. We would sometimes talk for a long period of time and as he is older we were able to go deeper in our conversations than those with the much younger children. He shared that his family is Muslim, though he has learned about Papa God and His son Jesus Christ while he has been here with Mercy Ships. I asked if they attend the mosque on Fridays and he said yes. I encouraged him that he can still pray to Papa God for his life, his situation and to develop more of his relationship with Him. He commented that “When God thinks of me, I feel good”.
He is so pleased with his healing, he feels happy and his mother cried for joy seeing him. On his return to his home town, all his friends and neighbors came to see and look at his leg and how he can walk now himself properly. I miss having time with Tamba as we visited almost every day. School started in September and he is enrolled at the local school. He doesn’t know what he wants to be in the future, but has the thought to be a doctor “as without the doctors who took care of me, I would not be better.”
Prayer Request: Tamba’s life, reintegration into society, his physical, spiritual and emotional health – and for all of our patients