before

meet Somaya

Country: Madagascar, Africa
Age: 2
Surgery: Maxillofacial

praying as the pain progressed

Neny continued to pray as Somaya’s challenges increased. When she started learning to speak, Somaya’s malformed lips made forming words nearly impossible. She had trouble eating and drinking. “She was always sick,” Neny told us. “She was always coughing.”

Then one day Neny saw a program on TV that informed her that Mercy Ships was coming to Madagascar to provide free surgeries. Her hope soared. “This is an answer from God,” she thought. She rushed to get Somaya a card for screening—but two days before the screening Neny’s home caught fire and the card was destroyed. Neny felt like abandoning all hope for her daughter.

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a floating hospital. A second chance.

Losing the screening card weighed heavily on Neny, but five months later hope was restored when Neny heard that Mercy Ships was returning to Madagascar. Somaya would have a second chance! In the hospital ship’s ward, Neny and Somaya met other mothers and children with cleft conditions. They no longer felt alone. Soon Somaya’s life-changing surgery was scheduled.

smiles for all

After Somaya’s surgery, Neny couldn’t stop smiling herself. “Now she is healthy!” she declared. “Now she can eat and drink normally…She says, ‘Water, Mamma!’” As they prepared to return to their village Neny couldn’t wait to show her neighbors Somaya’s sweet new smile. “They will be amazed to see her back with these lips,” she says with a grin.

they called her “monster”

Mariette was 30 years old when one of her children noticed she had something growing on her back. A doctor told Mariette that the mass could only be removed with surgery. She was heartbroken—her family could never afford such a costly procedure. Mariette prayed for a solution.