Haouaou's Procedure on
“It came out of nowhere,” said Haouaou’s grandmother, Halimatou. “All the sudden we were surrounded by flames.” One day about a year ago, Haouaou was home with her brother and sister. Her grandmother was napping next door. Without notice… Read more
“It came out of nowhere,” said Haouaou’s grandmother, Halimatou. “All the sudden we were surrounded by flames.” One day about a year ago, Haouaou was home with her brother and sister. Her grandmother was napping next door. Without notice, a fire sprang up and began engulfing the house. Halimatou flew awake and rushed to save her grandkids. Having battled her way inside, she managed to strap the baby to her back with a cloth, grab five-year-old Haouaou in her arms, and hold on to Haouaou’s brother. They all made a rush for the door, but right as they were about to escape, the burning ceiling collapsed on them - only Haouaou and Halimatou survived.
That day, Haouaou was badly burned. The family took her to the national hospital where she got some treatment, but they had to pay for everything out of pocket and the six-year-old is still covered in burns. She has limited use of one knee and elbow, and her family can’t afford more surgery - the previous hospital bills have exhausted all their resources, and they often don’t even have enough to eat.
Fortunately though, one of Haouaou’s cousins had already come to CURE Niger for a burn surgery. Halimatou saw the good results and decided to take Haouaou too. We pray that here at CURE Niger, Haouaou’s body and spirit would be restored, and just as the fire “came out of nowhere,” and touched every part of Haouaou’s family, we pray the healing and restoration God brings would be infinitely more surprising and widespread.
We caught Haouaou waiting for her bandage change this morning - this time her grandmother Halimatou accompanied her and, as usual, she took the chance to try to teach us some Zarma while practicing her French and English on us. Between the three languages, we speak about twelve words in common, but even so Halimatou seems pretty entertained by these exchanges. Keep praying for Haouaou and her grandmother as they continue their visits to CURE Niger.
This morning Haouaou played around on some of our hospital trikes while waiting for her bandage change. She's becoming more and more open and joyful every time we see her! Keep praying for her full recovery.
Haouaou is back for another bandage change, but this time it's not as big of an ordeal - Dr. Karim gave the go-ahead for her to ditch the old bandage and replace it with a much smaller one - that means her surgery wounds are healing well and she's well on her way to recovery. Keep praying for her as she continues physical therapy and regular wound cleanings.
Haouaou is back for more physical therapy! Even though she's pretty serious in this photo, she's more and more happy every time we meet - she now greets us excitedly when she sees us, but only months ago she wouldn't even open her mouth. It's cool to see her clearly feeling comfortable and at ease here - keep praying for her physical, spiritual and emotional healing as she continues her arm-strengthening exercises with us.
This morning Haouaou came to physical therapy with a new chaperone ... her mom! Usually her grandmother Halimatou comes with her, but she was attending to the birth of another relatives' child. Now, after getting to know Haouaou for months here at CURE Niger, it's good to finally get to meet her mom. She didn't want her picture taken, but she loved the one we snapped of Haouaou - it's clear from the way the two act around each other that she's a great support to her daughter!
"I don't feel any more pain during my exercises," Haouaou told Saleye, our physical therapy assistant, during this morning's session. Because of that, and because of the fact that Haouaou is more cheerful every time we see her, we know God's been hearing your prayers. "Do you know that there are many people who saw your pictures and sent you messages?" We asked her a few minutes later. "No, I didn't know," she said surprised. "I want to see them." We ran and grabbed the computer and Saleye helped us translate. Haouaou's eyes got big as she heard about your prayers for healing and your encouragement on how strong she is. Thank you for your faithfulness in interceding on her behalf. Slowly but surely she's being restored.
We caught Haouaou this morning waiting for her bandage change. "Fufu," she greeted us, which means “Hi!” in Zarma. We're surprised and blessed by Haouaou's expression. For months, she rarely spoke, not even to her grandmother. Pray that she'd continue to gain confidence and joy as her body heals.
"Haouaou's making good progress with her exercises," said Saleye, our physical therapy assistant. Saleye is very gentle and kind with patients, but even so the exercises often hurt. Haouaou's tough though - a grimace is the worst reaction you'll ever see. Pray for this little girl, that she would be softened and strengthened by the kindness and gentleness she experiences during her healing process here.
After her bandage change and physical therapy, Haouaou joined all the other patients for a presentation of the gospel - Emanuel from our spiritual team told the story of Creation through Jesus' death and resurrection - pray that these words would take root in Haouaou's heart!
This morning Balki, our social worker, and Halimatou chatted a bit after Haouaou's appointment. Haouaou is healing up well, but unfortunately Haouaou's mom broke her leg and is also being treated near their home - pray for the family while they're under this extra financial and physical burden.
This morning Haouaou waved to us on her way to physical therapy, probably hoping this would be her only photo today! Afterwards we sat in a bit on her appointment, watching Halimatou, her grandmother, massage her hand, arms and legs - it's surprising how much more flexible and supple Haouaou's skin is becoming. Still, she is very shy - pray for her to build confidence as she heals.
Haouaou always takes care to follow the nurses' instructions perfectly and this morning was no different - she held her arm up exactly at the right angle while nurse Haoua cleaned and re-bandaged her arm!
Back in November Haouaou had her first operation at CURE Niger - the goal was to restore mobility in her left arm and elbow. Now, almost six months later, she's reaching that arm above her head! We caught her coming from her physical therapy appointment for her other arm, which we operated on about three weeks ago - she's making good progress and we hope that soon her right arm can move just as well as her left!
Haouaou's done with her bandage change and off to her very first physical therapy session (for her hand)! "She's healing well so she's ready to start doing exercises now," said Nana, one of the nurses who took care of her today. Haouaou's also continuing to do exercises for her leg, which was operated on back in February. Overall, she's handling things like a champ!
"Haouaou woke up with a big smile on her face," her grandmother told us this morning. "When she woke up, she started playing by herself with some toys, even before I woke up" she continued. The early bird catches the worm but in Haouaou's case it's the early bird gets to play. Haouaou is healing so well that she will be going home today so we took that as an opportunity to give her a small gift: an instant photo of herself! Please pray for her as she recovers.
Our surgical team performed a simple operation to release contracted tissue on Haouaou's right hand and set her on a new course - with time, new tissue will grow that will allow her to move her hand again!
Haouaou is back for another surgery! The doctors will be releasing the tendons in her right hand so she can move her fingers again - this little girl is very brave and strong to endure so many surgeries. Her burns were so extensive that it is taking her quite a long time to be healed. Still, she's getting better and better. Please pray for even more strength and endurance for as she gets ready for her next operation!
"Before surgery, she couldn't even walk," says Halimatou, Haouaou's grandmother. Now Haouaou's got a bounce in her step as she follows her grandmother out our front gates - she just finished her last bandage change appointment and she won't have to come back for another few weeks- praise God!
Halimatou took advantage of the few minutes before Haouaou's physical therapy session to massage the burns on her granddaughter's ankles and feet - families play an essential role in helping patients heal properly from burn contracture surgery - our physical therapists teach mothers and caregivers proper massages and stretches to help their children regain the mobility and strength the burns took away. We know Halimatou takes good care of Haouaou - she's at every appointment with her granddaughter, and is always doing the small things it takes to help her heal.
"Haouaou is very brave," said nurse Maria during her bandage change today. It's true - she gritted her teeth, held very still and barely let out a whimper while Maria took the stitches out of her leg. Haouaou's wound from surgery is healing well - she'll keep coming back for bandage changes and eventually physical therapy, which will help restore the mobility the burn took from her knee - you're doing so well Haouaou - keep up the fight!
Haouaou is back for another bandage change - while she waits she tends to stay quiet, even when other kids are around. She's been through a lot, more than most - pray that as her joints regains their normal ability to move, bend and twist , that her spirit too would find new mobility.
Haouaou is back for her first outpatient appointment - she and her grandmother showed up behind the crowd, but were still offered the best seats! Pray that her first bandage change goes well and she continues to heal quickly.
The blankets are folded, the bags are packed, and now Haouaou's just waiting on her grandma to say it's time to go home - so far Haouaou is healing up nicely and she'll be back next week for a bandage change. Pray that her homecoming is a sweet one!
Haouaou is finding ways to entertain herself in the ward - so far it's books, crying babies, and building blocks. Every day she's a little more active and a little more interested in the world around her. We hope soon she'll be able to get out of bed and play with other kids!
Haouaou loves books - she doesn't show her feelings a lot, but when she's got one in hand, the edges of her mouth turn up and you can see she's happy. She's recovering well in our ward right now - pray her energy and smile would keep growing!
Haouaou made it through another successful surgery! Dr. Anthony and his team released the burn contracture around her left knee and hip, and once she heals she should have a considerably freer range of motion. Pray that she would heal up quickly and remain infection-free!
Haouaou is back for her second surgery! Her hand has been released, is fully healed, and now it's time to move on. Because her burn was so extensive, it will take a few operations to restore her functionality. This time around, the doctors will be working on releasing some of the melted skin keeping her knee from fully straightening. Please join us in welcoming this young lady back!
Haouaou stopped by for her first wound cleaning! Normally our CURE Niger nurses take care of this kind of thing, but Haouaou got treated to Dr Anthony taking care of her himself! Wound cleanings aren't fun, but they're important to make sure no infections spring up and her skin graft takes to her hand as seamlessly as possible. (Before you get freaked out, that's iodine on the bandage, not blood. Iodine is used to clean and disinfect the area around Haouaou's surgical site!)
This young woman is feeling so much better! Haouaou's grandma had gotten a new (to her) phone with a camera and she and Haouaou had done a little photoshoot together. The only problem is, they didn't know how to look at all the images they had taken. Biba from our spiritual staff was around to help them figure it out and Haouaou loved seeing herself! In more good news, Haouaou got discharged today! She'll be finishing up her healing at home and we'll see her for a follow up in a little bit.
Haouaou isn't in much pain today, but she's pretty freaked out how her hand is currently attached to her stomach. We had explained it to her and her grandmother before they were admitted, but she is so young and it's so far outside what they know in life, it didn't quite hit home until after the surgery. Understandably, Haouaou is a little skittish and emotional today. Thankfully, Balki from our spiritual team got to spend some time comforting and praying with her today. Please join us in praying for this little one. For the strength she needs to persevere through this!
Without much fuss, Haouaou has had her surgery! The doctors released the burned skin restricting her movement from both her left elbow and wrist. Her elbow got a skin graft, but since there was such a big area on her wrist that needed new skin, the doctors did a tricky little procedure informally called a tummy flap. Basically they created a flap of skin on her stomach and sewed her hand into this skin flap. It sounds creepy and looks a little alarming, but it allows the skin to stay alive as it's still connected to Haouaou's stomach and having her hand in there allows this still healthy skin to grow onto the newly exposed areas on the back of her hand. She'll have her hand permanently attached to her stomach for a few weeks. After that, she'll have another surgery to release her hand, new skin and all!
Haouaou is here at CURE Niger after being referred here by her local hospital. She's a little bit nervous, but overall excited to start the process of getting back her hands! Please pray with us as we get started!
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