Rabi's Procedure on
“I want her to be educated, to become something - I never had that chance,” says Zoueia, looking at her baby girl Rabi. Zoueia is a mother of three - two school-age boys and seven-month-old Rabi. When Zoueia was pregnant with her daughter, she … Read more
“I want her to be educated, to become something - I never had that chance,” says Zoueia, looking at her baby girl Rabi. Zoueia is a mother of three - two school-age boys and seven-month-old Rabi. When Zoueia was pregnant with her daughter, she often fell sick - and when her baby girl finally arrived with a cleft lip, she was shocked - “Never had I seen anything like this, not on TV, not in my community,” she says. Rabi’s deformity immediately made Zoueia and Rabi something different, something wrong - “Everyone would call her names, even my two sons wouldn’t let her near them,” says Zoueia. In Niger, birth defects are often seen as evidence of a generational curse, both on the mother and baby. Children who live into adulthood with cleft-lips will forever be marked by it.
Fortunately though Zoueia did not accept the “curse” - she asked around and the clinic where she gave birth referred her to CURE Niger. She was able to make the trek from her village to our hospital in order for Rabi to undergo surgery. Now, only a small scar will ever mark her former cleft - instead of being a remnant of a “curse”, we pray it will be a mark of blessing.
And it is true, Rabi is blessed - blessed with a mother who is determined she get an education in a society which doesn’t value it. In Niger girls don’t usually go to school, and if they do, most of them drop out by high school. Parents generally want them to learn housework - cleaning, cooking, etc, all in preparation for an early marriage. But Rabi will be different - with a strong mother who values her education, and with the memory of her punishing deformity all but gone, she will have the chance to become all that God has made her to be!
Rabi and Zoueia are going home! They've been staying in the city to be near CURE Niger for Rabi's frequent wound-cleanings, but now Rabi is healed enough to go back to her village. This will be the first time her older brothers will see their baby sister with a whole lip - before they wouldn't even go near her - pray for a big change of heart.
Nurse Saratou tried hard to get a smile out of Rabi, but this baby knows what's coming and she's not about to play along - it's been almost two weeks since cleft-lip surgery and baby Rabi has to come back regularly for wound cleanings. Fortunately the cleaning just takes a few minutes - hold on Rabi, we'll get through this!
“It turns out my baby isn’t ugly,” Rabi’s mother mused after we showed her the picture we had just taken of Rabi. It’s been almost a week since Rabi’s cleft-lip has been repaired, and we caught up with her mom after her check up today. What shocked us the most was that Zoueia did believe what the others were saying about Rabi. People with disabilities here in Niger are discriminated against and looked down upon. They are seen as cursed and sometimes even called ‘children of the devil’. With a cleft-lip, Rabi was considered ugly, but now we hope everyone can see the beauty she really is!
“I will now go home and show everyone what God is able to do - they did not believe she could be healed," Zoueia told Biba, a member of our spiritual staff. Before Zoueia left, Biba had the chance to pray and share the gospel with her - "We talked about the 'path to life,' and how it is not a literal path, but Jesus himself," said Biba. "We also talked about how God is a good God who wants to heal his children." Pray for Zoueia and baby Rabi as they go back, now healed, to a community which has always shunned them - pray also for this seed of hope to take root in Zoueia's heart!
Rabi made it through surgery successfully! After cutting away some tissue and making sure her lips lined up correctly, Dr Issa essentially just sewed the two sides together. It'll take a few weeks to heal, but Rabi's lip is now whole!
What an exciting day for baby Rabi and mom Zoueia - Rabi has been admitted and after surgery Zoueia will see her daughter for the first time without a cleft-lip! She's been telling us about how hard it's been since Rabi's birth - "We have no peace," she says. Other people from the village taunt Rabi and refuse to go near her. We pray Zoueia and Rabi will experience God's supernatural peace and acceptance as we move forward!
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