Yasmina's Procedure on
“Your daughter was born this way because you have sinned against God,” said people in Oumou’s village. Yasmina, Oumou’s second child, was born with both hands identically deformed - on each hand, the baby's ring and middle fingers are fused… Read more
“Your daughter was born this way because you have sinned against God,” said people in Oumou’s village. Yasmina, Oumou’s second child, was born with both hands identically deformed - on each hand, the baby's ring and middle fingers are fused into one. It is a correctible medical condition, but people in Oumou's village instead chose to believe Yasmina's deformity was the result of a curse. At first, Oumou’s neighbors offered advice - ‘You should go to a witch doctor,’ they counseled - Oumou went, ready to try anything, “But [the doctor] did nothing for Yasmina, and I knew this black magic could not help,” she recalls. As Yasmina grew, people in her village continued to blame Oumou - “I finally realized I had no allies,” she remembers, “So I turned away from my community.”
But there was one person in her village who would help - the medical doctor. “It was he who told me about CURE [Niger],” Oumou recalls. “And since we had no money, even for transport, he paid our way.” Thanks to this man's generosity baby Yasmina is here at CURE Niger, and thanks to the generosity of international donors, she is receiving free surgeries for both her hands.
We explained to Oumou what inspires this generosity - “We are Christian,” we told her. “We operate from God’s goodness, and we try to do good for everyone who comes.”
“I am now filled with joy,” Oumou responded, “You have taken my daughter when no one else would.”
We took this picture two days ago, one day before Oumou and Yasmina had to leave suddenly. We can't imagine being at CURE Niger with one child and finding out that your other child has unexpectedly passed away, but that's exactly what happened to Oumou. Life is always fragile, and in Niger, where the child mortality rate is one of the highest in the world, we're frequently reminded of this. Please extend your heartfelt prayers for Oumou, Yasmina and their family - we hope that in the future Yasmina will be able to come back for her second surgery, but until then our hearts are with them.
Here Yasmina is inspecting her mom's work - Oumou and the other guesthouse moms regularly harvest and dry vegetables from the patient garden - the produce provides extra food for their families and helps give the moms purpose while they all wait out COVID-19 travel restrictions here at CURE Niger. Meanwhile, Yasmina crawls around finding ways to entertain herself - pray for her hand as it heals, and for her mom's spirits to remain high as they wait.
Oumou and baby Yasmina prefer to sit in the back during story time. It gives Yasmina a chance to play, observe, and explore while her mom keeps one ear on her and one on the Bible teaching. They're settling into the guesthouse well - in the mornings Oumou goes out to our patient garden with other guesthouse moms, collecting vegetables to cook or dry - otherwise she spends a lot of time in the guesthouse courtyard with the rest of the longterm patients and caregivers. Even though the days follow a regular rhythm, things have changed a lot for Oumou and Yasmina - last week the baby wouldn't leave her mom's arms, but this week she's often cuddled up with one of her guesthouse "aunties." Praise God for answered prayer - that their forced stay at the guesthouse (due to COVID-19 travel restrictions) is showing Oumou that her daughter is not an outcast, but instead a member of the CURE Niger family.
Yasmina checks out the goings-on around her from the safety of her mom's arms. She's been at the guesthouse more than a week now and because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, she and her mom will continue here until the situation changes. Meanwhile, little Yasmina is receiving bandage changes and her hand is continuing to heal - pray that this travel ban would actually be a blessing, and the new guesthouse 'family' would show her and her mom acceptance and love where their village showed condemnation and disdain!
Yasmina has already recovered enough from surgery to be out of the ward and in our guesthouse! She's not too sure about all the new strangers, but fortunately she's got the assurance of her mom keeping her close at all times. When Yasmina's right hand heals enough she'll have her left hand operated on - until then it's just a matter of time and care.
During surgery, Dr. Anthony and his team separated baby Yasmina's ring and middle finger on her right hand. They grafted in some skin borrowed from her stomach, stitched her up, and sent her off to heal. Once she's recovered enough, our team will perform roughly the same operation on her left hand and she'll be a ten-fingered ten-toed baby just like any other!
"I am filled with joy," says Yasmina's mom, Oumou. "No one else would take us." Oumou's baby girl was born with both hands deformed, her ring and middle fingers fused together. Witch doctors couldn't help, other hospitals weren't sure they could do the surgery, and on top of that Oumou had no money. But now Yasmina is about to receive surgery here at CURE Niger. Please join us in welcoming her!
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