Fanie’s Story:

Twelve-year-old Fanie’s smile and charisma captivated everyone he met, and he relied on these qualities to distract people from the extreme curvature in his deformed shins.

Fanie’s mother remembered people mocking her crippled baby when he was born, but she gave her youngest son all her love. After losing two children, she was determined that he deserved the best life she could provide.

By the time Fanie was twelve-years-old, he could barely walk, and his bent legs stumbled hopelessly. But, Fanie had an amazing ability to turn difficulties into entertainment when he was at school and with friends.

Life at home was different—he spent much of his time alone.

But his mother’s positive attitude kept hope alive for Fanie.

“Jesus has helped me… People laughed at us, but I have a strong faith…I believe God will heal Fanie,” she declared.

When Fanie’s brother heard that Mercy Ships was arriving, Fanie’s life changed. Fanie was accepted for surgery on the Africa Mercy, and when he awoke from surgery, his legs were covered in long casts.

After two months of rehabilitation, his long casts were removed and he began using crutches. Later, Fanie was delighted to discover that Mercy Ships was making a raised sole on one of his shoes so he would finally be able to walk.

After four months with Mercy Ships, Fanie returned home. The news of his healed legs had rippled through the community, and upon his arrival, the streets were filled with joy. His brother revealed,

“Fanie is very different now. Before, he was unhappy because his mother had to carry him everywhere, even to school. Now, he is active and walking. Fanie has a good future.

Fanie smiled and proudly announced,

“I walk around the town every day to visit my friends. Now, I can walk to school and finish my education to be a doctor!”

This story is a special look-back as we celebrate 40 years of service. Fanie received his surgery onboard the Africa Mercy in Sierra Leone in 2011.