before

meet Sasiline

Country: Madagascar, Africa
Age: 8
Surgery: Plastic Reconstructive

When the pain eventually diminished, Sasiline had to learn how to perform everything using just her left hand. She went to school eager to learn, but she often came home crying, “The other kids are making fun of me because of my arm,” she told us. Over the years Sasiline became timid and shy because of her condition.

hoping to be healed

With no money or resources, Sasiline’s mother Joceline had little hope of getting the medical care that her daughter needed to fix her bound arm. Then one day an unexpected phone call came from Sasiline’s grandfather, who had heard about the free medical work Mercy Ships was doing to restore injuries. Joceline could hardly believe the good news. “We really have to go because we’ll never find the money to fix her hand,” she said.

Mother and daughter set off as the sun rose to catch a crowded old mini-bus from town. They bounced all day and all night over rutted and muddy dirt roads, to reach the Mercy Ships patient screening. Thankfully, they were given the precious appointment to see a surgeon. Another all-day bus ride over rough roads took them to Madagascar—and the Mercy Ship. They were exhausted, but elated.

Doctor_Sasiline_2

Sasiline_post_surgery

 

“we have been waiting a long time.”

Sasiline’s burn contractures were extensive, and releasing her fingers and her elbow required a series of complex surgical procedures by Mercy Ships surgeons. First the scarring over her elbow, wrist and fingers was removed to allow her limb to regain normal extension. Next, skin grafts were taken from her thighs to repair her arm.

After surgery, Sasiline declared with a loud laugh, “Mum, my arm is straight now!”  Joceline shared, “It’s really good. I am really happy to see the difference. It has been a long time that she was stuck. It was very hard for her.”

Today Sasiline enthusiastically participates in creative challenges set by her hand therapist and is now able to fully flex her elbow. Her wrist is healed in the correct position, and exercises focus on developing her fine motor skills. The peals of giggles that emanate from Sasiline reveal both the healing and the acceptance she has experienced since her surgery on this ship of mercy.

 

burned, broken—and in need of a miracle

Our volunteer nurse, Ria, found Elina hiding in the bushes near our hospital ship, and could hardly believe her eyes. As she gently coaxed her out, she discovered Elina’s infected wounds and learned her heartbreaking story.

Elina had been burned—held in open flames—in retaliation over a family dispute. Although the person responsible had been caught, the damage was done. Elina spent months in extreme pain as her body tried to heal itself. But, with no access to emergency treatment, severe burn contractures formed, and serious infection set in.