Chafiou's Procedure on
“I want to play football again,” says eight-year-old Chafiou. “[Since the accident] I just sit around.”
It happened about a year ago - Chafiou was cooking, and when he lifted a pot of boiling water off the fire, his pants caught fir… Read more
“I want to play football again,” says eight-year-old Chafiou. “[Since the accident] I just sit around.”
It happened about a year ago - Chafiou was cooking, and when he lifted a pot of boiling water off the fire, his pants caught fire and were engulfed in flames. His upper legs and the backs of his knees were badly burned, and while they did heal, they did so badly - the skin contracted, so his knees are now permanently bent and his hip joints are nearly locked in place - he doesn’t walk anymore, he shuffles.
Fortunately a visiter in Chafiou’s village told Chafiou's family about CURE Niger - “We’re so happy and grateful to be here,” said his great aunt, who’s taking care of him while he gets surgery. “We’re so glad he’s getting help.”
The year has not been easy for Chafiou, “He’s suffered a lot of pain,” says CURE Niger surgeon Dr. Anthony - but with an operation to release the burns, and with physical therapy to help restore mobility, Chafiou should be able to walk again, maybe even pain-free. Hopefully soon he can play football too!
"I want to pray that this disability goes away," said Chafiou, "And also for all the doctors here." During art therapy all our longterm patients drew their prayers on a thin line of paper - afterwards they explained them to Salamatou and she prayed. Thank you for upholding Chafiou before the Lord - his recovery is taking longer than expected and he needs courage and stamina as he continues here at CURE Niger.
Chafiou waited for the moment when the nurse looked the other way to make a pose during bandage change. The experience was so different from just a few weeks ago. It used to be painful and trying, but now they're painless and quick. However, we will need to keep Chafiou’s movements limited unlike last week. His wounds need extra care as it needs more time to heal in bandages. Chafiou would like to go home soon, but his wound needs to heal completely before he can do so. Please keep praying for him.
We ran into Chafiou this morning waiting for his wound-cleaning appointment. His legs have healed enough that he doesn't have to wear a bandage anymore, and what's more, he's feeling a lot less pain during his wound-cleanings. Pray that he'd make exceptional progress in his physical therapy sessions so that he could move his knees and upper legs more and more freely!
Earlier we sat down with Chafiou to read him some of your prayers and get well messages for him and he was visibly touched - "Do you know Jesus loves you?" We asked. "Yes, I know." He responded. He thanks you, and prays that God would bless you as you've blessed him!
Chafiou's nearing the end of his in-patient treatment with us here at CURE Niger - it's just bandage changes that stand between him and freedom now! Last week we mentioned some sores on his lower legs - fortunately those are healing well and it's just a matter of time until he can go home. Thanks for all your prayers and support!
Around 10 am this morning we ran into Chafiou running towards us with a huge smile on his face! We were so relieved - just 30 minutes earlier he had been crying, examining the small sores that have recently appeared on his legs - according to Nigeriens, these sores are common and lead to much bigger issues if left unchecked. But fortunately our team at CURE Niger is treating these sores and they should go away soon - pray for complete healing for Chafiou and that he would be filled with hope instead of despair!
This week in art therapy Georgiana our art therapist asked our longterm patients to draw where they saw themselves in ten years. Afterwards everyone explained their artwork - some kids wanted to own fields, others wanted to have businesses and most wanted to get married. When we came to Chafiou his work was completely different. He was shy to talk about his drawing, but after a little coaxing he explained: "I want to be a doctor," he said quietly, "Because where I'm from there aren't many."
During art therapy Chafiou (right) teamed up with his friend Tassiou to blow some bubbles for us. Even though some other patients were able to go home this week, Chafiou and Tassiou have to stick around a bit longer as their wounds heal. The other day our surgeon Dr. Anthony helped Chafiou re-engineer his walk so his muscles would start to get used to moving correctly as they heal. "I'm doing it right now!" Chafiou yelled to us later as he ran/walked his way back from his bandage change appointment - we were surprised at how quickly he was moving!
"When we came here, we came with nothing but our hopes," Chafiou's great aunt Didjé told us. "We didn't even have enough money to buy food while we were here, but CURE Niger gave us everything we needed, and I thank God for that. He really has a way of taking care of everyone." Chafiou and Didjé have been here more than two months and he's almost healed enough to go home. We're so grateful that their long stay with us has changed Didjé's mind about those who follow Christ. "People in our village think that Christians are just here to bring division and confusion to the Muslims," she says, "But Chafiou's healing will be proof to everyone that the Christians are good people."
"I can't believe I used to be scared of the stairs," Chafiou said laughing. Where he's from most houses don't have second stories, so it's here at CURE Niger that he first climbed up and down stairs. This morning, he and a bunch of other patients goofed around on the playground, and we can see that he's moving so much more easily than before.
Yesterday evening Chafiou and the other guesthouse kids painted each others' faces in art therapy. They were being taught how to work together - painting each others' faces makes it easy to work together because kid #1 has to ask kid #2 where they want the paint. All the kids had fun and they all wanted their pictures taken after. In Niger, it's hard for many kids to work well in groups because there is a lot of need and children are often taught to fight for everything they have. We thank God that the patients had such a wonderful time and that they were taught the art of working together!
"My legs hurt," Chafiou said with tears in his eyes this morning. His bandages had loosened and started causing him pain, but fortunately Salamatou from our spiritual department was around and sent him to see the nurses. They cleaned the wound, put fresh bandages on, and gave him some pain killers. Later that day he was goofing around with the other patients, back to his old self!
This morning we found Chafiou chilling under a tree enjoying the cool morning breeze. "There was a sandstorm last night, did you see it?" he asked excitedly. "The mothers and grandmas were running to go inside," he told us laughing. Chafiou is healed well enough now that he too was able to use his legs to get inside! But he didn't run away from the storm until the sky turned pitch black (or so he tells us...). Chafiou can use his legs, but they need a bit more time to heal before he can leave CURE Niger - pray for continued progress!
Hannatou, our spiritual director, greeted Chafiou with an elbow bump this morning! All our patients looooove shaking hands or high-fiving with anyone that comes to the guesthouse, but it looks like they're into this too!
Chafiou made sure Sali got to join in the fun yesterday afternoon: first our long-term patients made pipe-cleaner glasses with our spiritual team, then took a short break, and finally headed back to the chapel for more!
"He's almost healed," says Iffia as she re-bandages Chafiou's leg - his dressing changes used to hurt, but not anymore - this morning Chafiou could smile and talk with the nurses as they worked. Soon, he will be ready to start more intensive physical therapy, which is so important - right now he can get around, but he has to shuffle as his knees can't fully bend yet - we're hoping for the day he can walk like he used to!
Salamatou from our spiritual team makes sure Chafiou and the other patients wash their hands before group activities She does a lot for the kids here at CURE Niger, sometimes spending lengths of time with them one-on-one. Today Chafiou told her about kids in his village - “When they would tease me [about my legs] I used to leave the revenge in God's hands,” he said, “But whenever it got really bad I would vow to beat them up when I got back [from CURE Niger]!” Salamatou is used to hearing this from CURE Niger patients, many of whom have been picked on their whole lives, so she knows how to respond - “Leaving it up to God isn’t the same as forgiving,” she told Chafiou, “In forgiving you need to let go and forget, not hope that God takes revenge later.” Even though our spiritual team talks about Jesus every day, Chafiou doesn’t yet understand who he really is - pray with us that he would take Salamatou’s words to heart, and that he would find the source of true forgiveness.
"I prayed for my dad who had a fever and now he is healed," Chafiou told us. The patients were asked to draw an answered prayer in art therapy today. "I like to draw. It makes me happy!" said Chafiou. Overall he is doing well and we are starting to notice how fast he can get around using his walker - just a few weeks ago he was on total bedrest after surgery for burns - his surgery wound still needs to heal a bit more before he can start intense physical therapy, but when he does we pray that he'll make great progress and will be able to walk like he used to!
Chafiou is sewing masks! Yesterday Mantou from our spiritual team taught our patient caregivers how to hand-stitch these reusable creations, and while the other patients played Chafiou took a needle and thread and got to work. Mantou gave great guidance to all, and now Chafiou and these caregivers can help protect their villages from COVID-19 when they get home!
A few weeks ago, Chafiou was stuck in the ward on bedrest with only his great aunt and the nursing staff and no other children to play with. But since he moved to the guesthouse, he's been hanging out with other kids! He is also making progress physically—his wounds have healed enough that he no longer needs to be administered anesthesia during dressing changes. However, that doesn't mean his dressing changes no longer hurt. Please pray for courage and strength for him as he continues to heal.
Even though he has to hold himself up, Chafiou does what he must in order to finish his chalk drawing - this week he and the other guesthouse kids made art, played games, listened to the Easter story, and did some water balloon target practice with a baobab tree. Our spiritual team is working hard to support these kids while they're stuck here due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Pray for inspiration for our team and open hearts to the gospel.
Chafiou is finally out of the ward and into our CURE Niger guesthouse! Even though he can't walk much yet, he joins the group activities with everyone else - here he's listening to Mantou from our spiritual team tell the story of the tower of Babbel (despite appearances, most of the time he was listening attentively). Praise the Lord that even with the disruptions caused by COVID-19, Chafiou can still recover here, hearing the word of God in his mother tongue.
Chafiou is walking! After about two weeks of bedrest and a few bandage changes, our surgeons gave him the ok to get moving again! He took laps up and down the ward, then stopped by so we could read him some of your get well messages. We could tell he liked it when you all complimented his smile (thanks Bob), because his grin got real big. "Thank you everyone," he said afterwards, "May God bless all of you." Chafiou's excited to get back to our guesthouse where he'll be staying as he heals.
"My favorite animal ... to eat?" Chafiou asked. We had to laugh - we'd asked him what kind of animal he liked best, but we clearly weren't on the same page! Here in Niger most people can't afford to have pets and animals are kept for the value they bring, so it's not a surprise he was thinking of food. Even so, Chafiou loves flipping through the pictures of (live) animals in the ward's chest of donated books. He'll have his next bandage change soon, and thankfully his wound is infection free! Until then, it's more self-entertainment in the ward. Pray for him to soon be well enough to get out of bed.
Even though Chafiou's more of a soccer player, he's got pretty good aim with a tennis ball. "In my village we used to tie rags together to make a soccer ball," he told us this morning. He survived another weekend in the ward and still has plenty of positivity left! We're glad he's healing up well and his spirit isn't weighed down by his body's current limitations - pray for a quick healing so he can get back to the games he loves!
Chafiou went to the OR this morning to get his bandage changed - now he's back in the ward and recovering well. "Inna Gadjiya?" how's your tiredness, we asked him in his mother tongue, Hausa - "Babu Gadjiya," no tiredness, he responded, smiling. We're glad he's in high spirits even with the doctors' decision to keep him in the ward for longer. Pray for his speedy recovery and resilience as he continues on bedrest.
This morning we found Chafiou eating some candy - like most kids, he was really really enjoying himself. Thank God for the little things that break up the monotony of the ward - thank God also for Chafiou's great attitude thus far - "I'm not even tired," he told us, laughing. Tomorrow, after his bandage change, he'll find out if he's got the go ahead to be discharged!
"How are you keeping yourself entertained?" we asked Chafiou this morning in the ward. "I'm playing, of course" he responded. But playing isn't such an obvious possibility for him as Chafiou's going on more than a week of bedrest in the ward. We're glad he's keeping himself entertained, and also being well-looked after by nurse Deborah, who sees progress - "In comparison to his first day post-surgery, he's doing really really well," she says. Friday he'll have a bandage change, and then our doctors will decide if he's healed enough to be able to move around and maybe even relocate to the guesthouse! We thank God for his great recovery and attitude - pray that Friday would bring good news!
Chafiou flashes us his thousand-watt smile from his post in the ward this morning - he's been confined to bedrest for about a week now but he's still beaming - he's probably used to waiting though - ever since he was burned about a year ago he's been sitting around, unable to really function. But now he's making progress - praise God for that, and pray for continued patience, joy and fortitude while he waits!
Chafiou sizes us up from his bed in the ward - after his surgery for burn contractures last week his body needs some time to heal in a controlled environment. Even though it's not the most exciting place, Chafiou knows how to make his own fun - every time we pass his bed he throws us a mischievous look. Pray that soon he will be well enough to rejoin the other longterm patients in our guesthouse.
Dr. Anthony and head nurse Fatchima are taking good care of Chafiou post-surgery - he's on strict bedrest for a few more days, which means it's going to be a weekend in the ward. "I want to go back to the guesthouse with the other kids," Chafiou tells us, but his body needs more time to heal. Pray for patience and for a surprisingly fun weekend in our hospital!
Here Dr. Anthony is releasing the burned skin on Chafiou's upper legs in order to restore mobility in his hip joints. After surgery, healing, and physical therapy, Chafiou won't be forced to shuffle anymore - he'll be able to really walk!
Chafiou is here and ready for surgery! It was a long tiring journey for him and his great aunt, but they're so glad to finally be getting treatment for his burns. These burns are the reason he's sitting on the edge of his seat here - he can't move his legs like he used to - they're locked in a permanently sort-of-bent position. We can't wait to see him after surgery and healing, when he will be able to sit back and relax just like the other kids!
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