Posts for Country Niger

Finding Hope in Niger, Part IV

Hope v 6

This post is the conclusion of our four-part “Hope” series. The story behind the healing journey of a family from Niger is told by Josh Korn, one of the Spiritual Directors at CURE Niger.

When you really boil it down, hope is one of the central messages of the whole Bible. It is a peculiar type of hope that is hopeful in the face of despair. It is unflinching hope that is aware of the very bad things that are happening, and aware of the chance that even worse things are on the way. But through it all there is still hope. Impossible, unbelievable hope.

When hope is impossible and unbelievable, we sometimes call it faith.

Faith means believing that God can do something even though there is nothing to be done. When you are in the position of Job’s friends, this seems very silly. Maybe even irresponsible. If up is up and down is down, then you must have done something to end up so far down and should do something else to get back up. But we forget sometimes that this is an attitude of privilege. Not all can afford to think this way. Only those who don’t face problems, or who face problems but have the means to make the problems go away, can view difficulties in terms of “do” and “undo.” For the majority of the earth’s population, the problems are always there and do not go away.

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Expressing homesickness through art

Mamou is a 9-year-old girl with severe burns on her legs. She has been at the hospital for the last couple of months to receive a series of skin grafts. Mamou is very easygoing and loves to come for art therapy sessions. Since the beginning of her time here, she has been enthusiastic about doing art. She works very well with her peers and takes on a leadership role with the younger ones.

Mamou 1

Mamou’s drawings have changed a lot over the course of her time in art therapy sessions. She started out by drawing with a lot of colors and shapes. More recently, she has been drawing pictures of her family, her home, and things that surround her village. She has been missing home, and she’s been using her creativity to express it through her art. She showed me how her mother and sister use a mortar and pestle to pound the millet for their meals. She has repeatedly drawn her house and exudes such a sense of satisfaction when she’s done with her drawing and looks back at her work.

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Finding Hope in Niger, Part III

Hope v 6

This post is the third of four in the “Hope” series, which will be released through the month of February. The story behind the healing journey of a family from Niger is told by Josh Korn, one of the Spiritual Directors at CURE Niger.

Hadiza still had hope for Saratou, but she never actively looked for a hospital or clinic where she could be treated. Hadiza knew that even if she took Saratou to the hospital and she could be healed, she would never be able to pay for it. But one day, she heard about the CURE hospital in Niamey on the radio. The voice on the radio described the different conditions that are treated at the hospital, and they described Saratou’s condition. They called it cleft lip. Hadiza had never heard of cleft lip, but the way they spoke about the condition convinced her it was the same as Saratou’s lip. It was as though they were talking about Saratou herself.

After she heard about CURE on the radio, Hadiza decided to take Saratou to Niamey. They came even though they didn’t know where the hospital was and didn’t know if what the radio said was true. Even on the way to the hospital, children in Niamey saw Saratou and started calling her names. She went to fight them, but Hadiza held her back.

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Finding Hope in Niger, Part II

Hope v 6

This post is the second of four in the “Hope” series, which will be released through the month of February. The story behind the healing journey of a family from Niger is told by Josh Korn, one of the Spiritual Directors at CURE Niger.

We hear it over and over again. Almost every patient we talk to at the hospital tells us the same thing. Their disability is seen as a curse. It is something terrible and unfortunate that has happened to them, but also something for which they feel responsible. In many cultures, having a disability is viewed as a sign that you must have done something wrong; you must have somehow invited it upon yourself. If it wasn’t you, then it must have been your parents. Sometimes people say it is a curse from an evil spirit; sometimes they say it is a curse from God. But either way, they are saying that if you have a disability, it is your fault.

Even though every single one of us knows that bad things happen to good people, something in our soul fights against this idea. We persist in believing that the good are rewarded and the bad are punished, in spite of all evidence to the contrary. And if this is true, then we understandably come to the conclusion, even if it is a subconscious conclusion, that suffering is punishment, and if you are being punished then you must deserve it.

After all, if there is smoke, there must be fire.

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Finding Hope in Niger, Part I

Hope v 6

This post is the first of four in the “Hope” series, which will be released through the month of February. The story behind the healing journey of a family from Niger is told by Josh Korn, one of the Spiritual Directors at CURE Niger.

Hadiza had a daughter named Salama. She raised Salama alone in the town of Ayarou, a town on the river near the border of Mali. Life was not easy, but Hadiza did all she could for Salama. She made porridge at home and sold it on the street. She made enough money to keep them alive, but not much more than that. Hadiza loved Salama, but Salama grew up and one day she left. She went away to Benin, and Hadiza barely heard from her at all.
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Rahila’s Feet

Rahila 1Rahila is tough.

She is so tough that her crippled feet did not keep her from walking. It just meant she had to find a new, creative way to walk. Her feet were so overextended that she was forced to walk on the tops of her feet. It was a struggle and it was painful, but she did it for years and years.

One day, Rahila’s mother heard about the CURE hospital. She brought Rahila to see if she could be treated and was so happy because the answer was yes. She was told that Rahila could be healed, but it would require multiple operations on her feet, followed by a series of casts and a grueling period of physical therapy. It would also require self-discipline. If Rahila wanted her feet to be healed, it would take a lot of work. Rahila’s mother didn’t bat an eye. She knew if anyone could do it, it was Rahila.

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A long journey to healing

Abdoul-Wahab 1

Abdoul-Wahab

Abdoul-Wahab’s parents didn’t initially know he was born with a cleft lip. He was born late at night, and when the midwives saw that he had a cleft lip, they hesitated to tell his mother, Mariama. She couldn’t see him clearly herself because of the dark. It was only after they went home the next day that she and her husband realized that their son Abdoul-Wahab had a cleft lip. They were upset, especially since they didn’t know what it was or why their baby was born like this, but they prayed and asked God to bless him. They believed that they needed to accept anything that comes from God, and Abdoul-Wahab was from God, so there was nothing they could do. They had no idea that a cleft lip was something that could be treated or healed through surgery.

Thankfully, when Abdoul-Wahab’s parents talked to their family back in Niger and explained that their baby had been born with a cleft lip, Abdoul-Wahab’s grandfather told them that a new hospital had just been built in Niamey that treated that kind of thing. They made plans to visit the hospital the next time they visited home.

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Josh & Julie Korn: Christmas at CURE Niger

Korn Christmas 8For Christmas I wanted to do a group activity with all the kids at the hospital. We met in the chapel since the art therapy room would be a little tight… and because it is so cold outside! Really, it is. (Kind of.) We gathered all the kids together, told them the Christmas story, and explained that Christmas is the reason that we are going to have a big party at the hospital in a few days. After that, the kids made little nativity scenes with Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and sheep. They had a lot of fun working on their crafts, using tongue depressors (we are at a hospital after all), pagnes (traditional fabric) scraps, and yarn, and using cotton balls and toilet paper rolls for the sheep. This was a fun activity because they had just heard the story and then all created a symbol of the story together. I think hearing that Jesus was born in less than ideal conditions made the story more meaningful for them. He was born in a manger among the animals because there was no room for him anywhere else. But he was born nonetheless, and he was born to become King.  Read the rest of this entry »

Job Opportunities at CURE

Have you ever considered working for CURE? If you are interested in joining our mission to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God, we would like to hear from you! We are currently seeking qualified applicants to fill multiple urgent needs all over the world. To see all of our employment opportunities, please refer to the Jobs at CURE page.

Pediatric Orthopedic Surgeon – Niamey, Niger

We are currently seeking a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon for employment at CURE Niger. The Orthopedic Surgeon will  participate in clinical activities according to their scope of privileges while both providing and directing patient care. Responsibilities include examining, diagnosing, and treating diseases and injuries.

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Josh & Julie Korn: I’m already healed

Aramatou’s admission photograph. We always take pictures of the patients on their first day at the hospital so that we can get before and after pictures.

“I’m already healed!”

That is what Aramatou said after her first operation. She was so excited to see a change in her leg, even a slight change. She was happy and excited about the result of the surgery, even though she knew that there was still much left to be done.

Aramatou is from Mali, next door to Niger. Even though Niger borders Mali, she is from a region of Mali which is far away, and Mali is a big country. She had to travel very far to come to the CURE hospital, and she came to find healing.

Our surgeon Dr. Negrini said that he had never seen a case as extreme as Aramtou before, and he has seen a lot after his time here in Niger and before that in Bangladesh and other African countries. Aramatou’s legs were completely bent, which was bad enough, but unfortunately not that unique. We have seen other cases like that at our hospital. But her legs were not only bent, but also completely turned around. Her feet were totally turned around, so that her toes were facing backwards, and her heels forwards. She was able to walk, but it was not easy at all, and even standing caused her pain if she did it for a long period of time. Read the rest of this entry »