Friday, June 25, 2010


There is nothing quite like a visit from a long lost friend. For weeks I had been looking forward to seeing Namina and her mother again but not having any way to contact them, I was not sure when this reunion would take place.

You see, Namina was a patient of mine when I worked at the pediatric outpatient clinic in Aberdeen and I saw her regularly between January and June of 2009. Namina was fortunate to have survived a very lethal disease called ‘cancrum oris’ but unfortunately she was left with a large gaping hole in her face. With the help of my dedicated nursing staff, we were able to help three-year-old Namina with frequent dressing changes, nutritional support and tender care. Months of care followed and slowly the infection cleared and the wound started to heal. Throughout this time, Namina’s mother was an inspiration to me, traveling from Lungi to Freetown by ferry every Monday, so that Namina could come to the clinic 2-3 times a week for care, and then returning back to Lungi with Namina on Fridays. When I left in July 2009 it was difficult to say bye to Namina and her mom, but at least Namina was better and all she had to do was wait for her surgery.

Initially I was hoping to fly Namina and her mother to the Africa Mercy, a hospital ship run by the organization Mercy Ships, currently docked in Togo. However, a better option presented itself. In April of this year I found out that the Africa Mercy is going to conduct it’s next field service in Sierra Leone starting in February 2011. This means that Namina does not have to go anywhere. She can stay in country and have her first surgery here and although this means Namina will have to wait longer for her surgery, it is definitely an easier option from a logistical point of view.

On Friday June 25th I was sitting in the office working behind my laptop when I heard a knock on the door. I said come in and the door opened. As I looked up to see who entered I was delighted to see Namina and her mother step into the office. Namina’s mom was very happy to see me and we quickly started chatting about Namina and how both of them were doing. I do not think Namina really remembered who I was but that is okay. I am hoping I will see more of her and be able to win her over once again. It would be great to see where they live and be able to assist them where necessary.

I am very excited that I will be in Sierra Leone when Namina goes onboard the Africa Mercy for her surgery. I am hoping I will be able to be there in the operating room with her and observe a miracle unfolding before my eyes as an amazing maxillo-facial surgeon and role model, Dr. Gary Parker, begins to reconstruct her face. I can’t wait for that day.

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~ Act Justly. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly. micah 6:8 ~