Abdou's Procedure on
Abdou was seemingly born like every other child and was viewed as a blessing by his family. Unfortunately, this didn't last long. As Abdou began to walk, his family noticed that his legs were oddly bending outward and he "teetered" as he walked. Th… Read more
Abdou was seemingly born like every other child and was viewed as a blessing by his family. Unfortunately, this didn't last long. As Abdou began to walk, his family noticed that his legs were oddly bending outward and he "teetered" as he walked. Their initial thoughts were that he would outgrow this, but the opposite happened. As Abdou grew, his legs began to bow outwards more and more. His family and community were horrified as a disability like this is often viewed as a curse upon the child in Nigerien culture. As such, people with disabilities like Abdou's are often cast aside to the edges of society and struggle to find their place in life. On the other side, the joy Abdou's family expressed about having son was in part because of the role he would play in their future. Boys are expected to grow into men who get jobs and support their greater family and especially their parents as they age. With a disability, Abdou would struggle to provide for himself, let alone his family. Thankfully, a past patient of ours here at CURE Niger heard about Abdou's situation and was able to tell Abdou's family about the work we do helping children exactly like their son. Wasting no time, Abdou and his grandmother have made the trip here to our hospital where Abdou will get the surgeries he needs to straighted his legs and walk into his future tall and proud!
"People in our village told us not to come [to CURE Niger]," Abdou's grandmother, Aicha, told us this morning. "You'll just waste your money and Abdou will come back with the same crooked legs," they said. Now eight months after his initial operation, Abdou is well on his way to having straight legs! Today our team took an MRI and deemed him ready to continue healing at home until mid-June. "Many children in our village have bowed legs but their parents don't believe they can get help," Aicha told us. "Now that families will see Abdou coming back with straight legs, I know they will bring their children here."
This morning Abdou came to our first chapel service in months! Now that the number of COVID-19 cases in Niger has shrunk, we and the government are relaxing some social distancing measures and EVERYONE is enjoying being together again. Even though Abdou was the only kid there, he seemed to enjoy it too, listening as we discussed what it means to be ready for Jesus' return. But in general, Abdou's excited for a different return - going back to his village to see his family. "There's just a little bit more," he said after his bandage change today, "Then I'm going home!" It's true - the nurses showed us just a small area on his right leg that isn't yet scabbed over from surgery - once it is, Abdou will be free to go!
Here at CURE Niger, Abdou's always with friends laughing and goofing around - it's hard to imagine that back in his village things were completely different. "The kids back home used to come up to me and shout for me to run, that a bus was coming behind me," Abdou told us the other day. "There was no bus. They just did it to scare me because they knew I couldn't use my legs right." But now Abdou's legs are much straighter and he can even run a bit - we hope he can go home soon, but we also pray that things will be different when he does. "When I get back I'm going to beat up all the kids who did that to me," he told Salamatou, from our spiritual team. It was a chance for Salamatou to tell him about God's forgiveness and his requirement that we do the same - pray that as Abdou prepares mentally to go home, that he would be moved to forgive the kids who mocked him.
"What I like about the CURE Niger food is that I eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner and nobody worries because we know everyone will get enough," Abdou said while eating lunch today. "The doctors told me the food here helps us heal faster and get stronger," he said, taking another bite.
This morning, we found Abdou drinking coco (a porridge made of millet) next to his grandmother. "I make sure Abdou eats every morning here," she says. "When we go back home, we won't always have this kind of luxury." We're glad we can supply Abdou with good nutrition to help his body heal after surgery!
"What a blessing," Aicha said, surprised to see her grandson Abdou in new clothes. "I am so thankful for the help CURE Niger has given my family," she continued. Abdou is happy too - he strutted into art therapy with new clothes on and head held high!
Today right after his bandage change Abdou came to see what we were doing on the computer. "Why do I see my pictures here?" he asked, pointing at the screen. We explained to him how we store and edit our photos, and he was pretty fascinated. No other patients were around, so we took this opportunity to read his get well messages together - he told us to thank you for all your prayers!
Right as Emanuel from our spiritual team finished praying, Abdou broke out into his own surprisingly-well-choreographed dance - he's the class clown, the kid who riles up the other patients, and the one always eager to be on display! We're glad that his legs are healed and straight enough that he can dance, and we pray that our spiritual team's prayers and messages would sink in, so he would get connected to the never-ending source of true joy!
Abdou Ibrahim and his grandmother walk back to the guesthouse after another bandage change today. We're grateful so many of you have been praying for his healing and sending him get well messages - today we read some to him and he was touched. "Tell them I say thank you all for your prayers," he told us after.
"My grandson arrived here [CURE Niger] as a cripple," Abdou's grandmother, Aicha, tells us. "But now he will leave with his real legs!" It may sound harsh to use the word 'cripple,' to describe someone with a disability, but in reality, that's what people call anyone with a deformity - people might not have even learned Abdou's first name, instead calling him by the nickname 'gourgou' or cripple. Aicha doesn't want that for her grandson's future and she's practically bursting with joy now that he's close to being healed - "Thank you!" she says "Thank you to everyone here at CURE Niger - thank you for your warmth and in the way you've served us! Thank you to everyone all over the world who helped pay for his surgery - now my grandson has straight legs!"
Abdou is reunited with his old friends back here at CURE Niger! "I am happy!" he told us today, "I like drawing with them!" Today they all drew answered prayers - Abdou drew his mom, his dad and his little brother - "I prayed they would have enough to eat, and now they do!" he says. Abdou is here with his grandmother away from his family, but even as he undergoes physical therapy and post-surgery treatment for his newly straight legs, his concerns are back home with his family - we pray that they will always be provided for so that Abdou doesn't have to worry about them having enough food.
Abdou Ibrahim is back ... but apparently not for photos! Somehow he and his grandmother managed to make the 11+ hour trip through heavily restricted inter-city borders all the way here! We're impressed that, even with skyrocketing fares and road closures, so many of our patients are determined to get here for their follow-up appointments - it's really a testament to how much they value being healed. And Abdou is definitely healing - yesterday doctors took out two more pins from his surgery, and he's continuing to get stronger as he walks! He and his grandmother are now staying at our guesthouse (which is getting busy again!), and he's picking up where he left off with his old guesthouse friends.
Abdou left over the weekend and we missed the chance to say goodbye! Mini-buses are less regular, but waaay cheaper than buses, so when Abdou and his grandmother found out one was leaving for their hometown, they wasted NO time in hopping on board. Fortunately Abdou's next appointment isn't for more than a month, so he's got plenty of time to spend with his family at home. Pray that his legs would continue to get stronger and his family would be a great support to him while he heals!
Abdou is back again! When we saw him today at chapel he kept on turning around to smile at us. After he got his old cast off and now has a new one - he will have another x-ray in six weeks to confirm he is still healing properly. Abdou also attended Art Therapy where the kids were taught to look at themselves in a good way and that every time they look in a mirror, they should know that Jesus loves them. Let us continue to pray for Abdou!
Abdou spent a few days in our guesthouse and, over the weekend, his mom worked out a ride for them to get home so they left! He'll heal up there and will be back in a few weeks. We can't wait to see him again!
And just like that, Abdou has been discharged back to our patient guesthouse! This development gets two big thumbs up from this young man as he has a lot of friends also staying at the guesthouse and it's a whole lot more fun than hanging around in the ward!
After a solid weekend of healing, Abdou is feeling pretty swell! He asked us to take a photo of him wearing his favorite hat and asked us to include the painting on the wall behind him. It's a painting of several big moments in the life and ministry of Jesus! In the upper left, you can see a depiction of the birth of Jesus while in the upper right you can see the death of Jesus. In the foreground, you can see the sick, the children, the elderly, everyone coming to see Jesus himself. Please pray Abdou takes these scenes and their stories to heart as he is healing up!
This young man has had his surgery! The doctors carried out a procedure called an osteotomy where they straightened his right leg. Abdou handled the whole thing like a champ and is currently resting up back in the ward!
Abdou is in the ward getting ready for his next surgery, on his right leg this time! "I'm not at all afraid!" he told us proudly as his mom cut in with "He was asking me all day yesterday if it was time to go to the hospital. He's so excited!" Please be praying that this excitement continues into the hard work of recovering once he has his surgery.
It's been a big day for Abdou! He had his cast off and an x-ray to see how his bones are healing up. On top of that, he also had the stitches out of his leg! After waiting for so long, he was thrilled at all the busyness today. He was also fascinated seeing his newly straight leg out of his cast! Please continue for this little man as he continues to make big moves!
Today, Salamatou (a member of our spiritual staff) told Abdou and the other kids a story. It was about the time Jesus walked on water. "How is that possible?" Abdou asked as he listened very carefully for the answer. Salamatou went on to explain that Jesus is the Son of God so he can do things humans cannot.
Abdou is back for his follow up! He is healing very well and the doctors were able to remove all the pins from his leg that had been helping hold everything together as his bones strengthened. He got a new cast put on his left leg and is now staying at our CURE Niger guesthouse where he is making a lot of friends. We asked Abdou how he was felling and he said "I am supper happy to see my leg healing!" We also asked him what would be the first thing he would do when he is 100% healed and he said he would like to go to school and run around with the other kids. Him mom chimed in, "I would like for my son to go to school and one day become a teacher so that he can take good care of his old parents!"
Balki from our spiritual staff spent some time with Abdou this morning talking with him and checking out the crayon drawings he had made on his cast. Soon after this, Abdou found out the good news that he's being discharged! His only goal for the next six weeks is just to heal up as best he can. After that he'll see the doctor and we can plan on next steps!
Adbou has spent the vast majority of his day sleeping. We kept going to check on him and never managed to find him awake until late this evening! All the rest seems to be doing the trick and Abdou is feeling pretty good considering he's just recently out of surgery! Thank you for your prayers and get well message and we ask that you continue as there is still a lot of healing to be done!
This young man has received his surgery to straighten his left leg! It was a long procedure, but the doctors removed a wedge of bone from his leg which then allowed them to change the angle his leg was at to make it straight. It sounds like basic geometry, but we're so glad our doctors are highly trained and know how to do these difficult procedures! Please be praying for Abdou as he wakes up and recovers from his surgery. Our nurses will work to keep him comfortable, but it's never a fun process.
Abdou is hanging out with us here at CURE Niger as he gets ready for his first surgery to straighten his left leg! The idea is to do the legs one at a time so he can still walk (with the help of crutches) and get around by himself as he heals up. We love how excited he is for his treatment and are so happy God has had our paths cross!
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