Malnutrition takes its toll

When she was just two years old Sambatriniaina’s legs began to bow outwards because of an inadequate diet. Her parents were very poor and did all they could to provide as much as they could for little Sambat. Eventually she could hardly walk and would never be able to go to school. With no education and a crippling disability her future looked very dim.

little Sambatriniaina with severely bowed legs

Desperate to help their little one her parents decided that her mother Vuni would take her to the capital city where two different people had told them that some doctors from a hospital ship would be selecting patients for free surgeries. Many people in her village and even her family unjustly blamed poor Vuni for their daughters’ problems, and when there were so many people ahead of them in line the first day, that they did even get through the gate, Vuni almost gave up in despair. She mustered all her strength and the next day they tried again. To her surprise and delight not only did they see a doctor but they also received an appointment card for a free surgery.

Vuni had to pinch herself when less than a month later they were on board the hospital ship getting little Sambat ready for surgery. Vuni is a kind, friendly woman whose daughter’s physical disability weighed heavily on her. She listened carefully as the surgeons explained what they would do in the operation. She gave her approval and watched as they wheeled her little four-year-old out of the ward and down the hall towards the operating theatres. She continued to stare at the door for some time before returning to her daughter’s now empty bed, where she adjusted the sheets so that not a wrinkle could be see, and then proceeded to kneel down beside the bed and pray.

changing little Sambatriniaina's casts

The surgery was a complete success and after six fairly painful weeks of recovery the orthopaedic specialist gave Sambat the all clear to put weight on her legs and begin learning to walk again. The ships physiotherapists are now working to get her walking normally and we hope that one day, in the not too distant future, she will even be able to run around like any other kid her age. But there are many other kids just like Sambatriniaina that also need our help! So will you partner with us?

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little Sambatriniaina walks normally