She can be healed! She can do things!
Rahamou waited to speak until the other women had left the room. “My daughter got pregnant in the 7th grade,” she began. “It was with someone from her class, and it was a huge shame for both families.” When the two groups got together to discuss it, the father’s family was firm. “We want an abortion,” they said.
But Rahamou and her daughter wanted to keep the baby. “We took it to court,” she said. “But the other family had influence, and they paid the judge to side with them.” Normally, in Islamic culture, abortion isn’t acceptable, but in this case, money and power spoke louder than religion.
“Eventually, they let us keep the baby to term, but when she was born, the son signed all rights away,” said Rahamou – just like that baby, Imane, became a fatherless child. Her mother, just 13-years-old, couldn’t handle all this. “Because of the trauma, she stopped eating and became very, very sad,” said Rahamou. When Imane was just three years old, her mother died, leaving her an orphan.
Rahamou, who’d fought from the start for Imane’s life, continued to raise her. About a year ago, Imane was out buying some doughnuts. They’re made and sold along the street by dropping dough into boiling oil. Imane tripped over a brick by the pot of oil, lost her balance, and her hand plunged directly into the scalding oil. “By the time they brought her to us, she was in such a bad condition,” said Rahamou. “We brought her immediately to a Christian hospital nearby, and they helped, even though we didn’t have money.” Imane’s wound healed, but her fingers had been burned to stumps, and the tissue had contracted, rendering her hand practically useless.
“A wife of a man we know told us about CURE Niger,” said Rahamou. “They sent us some pictures and told us that she could get help and so we came.” When Dr. Karim saw Imane for a consultation, he noticed that she was not registered for school and pushed Rahamou to fill out the necessary paperwork. “She can be healed. She can do things,” the doctor told her.
From the moment Imane arrived at CURE Niger, she was one of the most boisterous and bright little patients we’ve encountered. While waiting for her initial consultation, she struck pose after pose for the camera, as if she were born for the limelight. Imane had surgery to release her fingers, and right after surgery, she began posing with the ward doll she’d adopted. Only a day or two after she was released, she started running around the hospital grounds laughing and shouting, stopping to chit-chat with nurses like they were old friends. In a culture where adults are often stoic towards children, Imane is making people smile. It’s as if life is bubbling up from her, and there’s no stopping it – not abortion attempts, not being orphaned, and certainly not a burned hand! It’s clear to see that God is watching over Imane’s life and that it’s no mistake she’s here.
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