meet Jacques

Country: Benin
Age: 9
Surgery: Eye Care

a family condition

Years later, Jacques’ younger sisters Marie and Elodie also developed cataracts. They couldn’t play or go to school like other children and would hold hands when they walked together, to help guide each other.



Amina worried about the education her children would miss because of their lack of vision. “A child must go to school to learn things, to learn to write and read, and later decide if he or she wants to learn a trade,” she said.

hope in sight

For seven years Amina fasted and prayed for her children to be healed. Then one day Leonard heard about Mercy Ships at the carpentry shop where he worked and was directed to a screening. He was determined to heal his children’s sight. “The first day we waited in line and didn’t get in,” Leonard said. “But we slept there overnight with the kids for the next time to make sure we got through. And we did.”



It wasn’t long before all three children received surgery onboard and were recovering in the ward, coloring in coloring books for the very first time. With intention, they colored, staying in the lines of each section of the picture. “Their eyes are bright now,” Amina says. Her prayers have been answered. “Now they notice the birds in the air and planes in the sky— they point up and say, “Mama! Look!! Look!!!” “Next year, all three will go to school,” Amina finishes proudly.



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.