Our world looks very different today than it did this time last year. The health pandemic which has impacted everyone in the world continues to shake most of our households, and we are aware, now more than ever, of the fragile healthcare systems that many nations face.

For many living in sub-Saharan Africa, the healthcare landscape is even more dire, with many people lacking access to even basic medical and surgical care within their countries. This is the world that children like young Fatimata and Zackaria have always known.

For Fatimata, living in a place without access to basic medical care meant that her cleft lip would be a burden she would carry her entire life. Her mother Khady was very thrilled when her daughter was born — it was love at first sight. Sadly, not everyone felt the same way about her little girl. People in the village they lived in would often laugh at baby Fatimata’s cleft lip, breaking her mother’s heart.

BUT, when Fatimata’s family heard that Mercy Ships was docked in Senegal, they were filled with hope that their little girl would soon find healing.

“When I arrived on the dock and saw Africa Mercy in front of me, my greatest hope was to see my daughter healed, and for the surgery to be successful,” her mother, Khady, said.

For young Zackaria, living his life with cataracts caused his family overwhelming stress. As Zackaria grew up, he was aware that he could not see like other children, but still he wanted to live a full life. 

One day his family heard of the Africa Mercy’s arrival on a local television channel and quickly brought the young boy to the ship where he was able to find healing!

“Now Zackaria can see better, he hardly stays still and is constantly moving about,” Binta said. “I am so happy. I never thought that Zackaria would have this opportunity for surgery. Even I was suffering from something that Mercy Ships has healed!” 

You can continue to read Fatimata’s and Zackaria’s stories in this summer’s issue of Waves of Mercy. These stories of transformation and hope would have been impossible if not for the dedication of our volunteers and partners — people like you.

This year we have so much to be thankful for! Despite our shortened time in Senegal, our volunteer medical professionals were still able to provide over 1,400 life-changing surgeries while our land-based dental clinic treated 5,500 dental patients. And, perhaps the most impactful legacy we were able to leave, was the training of 1,270 local healthcare professionals through mentoring and courses in partnership with hospitals throughout Senegal. Despite this success, we know that the journey is far from over.

The world needs healing now more than ever, and you can be a part of it! Your partnership with Mercy Ships affects so many, from helping to provide safe medical care to the training of local medical professionals, your faithful support will impact those we serve long after the Africa Mercy sails away!