Marie Madeleine loves school. She believes that with a good education she will be able to fulfill her dreams and refuses to let her condition hold her back.
As a child, Marie Madeleine developed an abnormally tight muscle contracture in her leg. As she continued to grow, her knee hyperextended back, leaving her with a severe limp when she walked. Despite this difficulty, Marie Madeleine continued to make the short trip to school, where she was determined to learn.
“Marie Madeleine is a very happy girl. He has many friends, ”said Adama, Marie Madeleine’s grandmother.
While the 13-year-old’s condition has made her struggle to keep up physically, her family has worked hard to ensure that she has spent her life surrounded by love and acceptance. The young woman has no recollection of ever being demoted for her disability, and this has resulted in a confidence that is clearly seen in the way she interacts with others. However, over time, Adama believed that her granddaughter’s condition would have prevented her from reaching her full potential.
“My hope is that she is like any other girl with a backpack who goes to school,” she said. “But we couldn’t afford the surgery, so we hoped for a miracle.”
One day, that miracle came in the form of news from a neighbor in their village, who told them about the arrival of the hospital ship Africa Mercy at the port of Dakar, about 100 miles from his home. The neighbor gave Adama the information for the patient selection process, and soon Marie Madeleine was scheduled for surgery.
On the eve of her operation, Marie Madeleine spoke about her “new life”, envisioning all the possibilities that lie ahead. After a successful surgery aboard the hospital ship Africa Mercy , Marie Madeleine was ready to begin rehabilitation.
He worked with the rehab team for several hours a week to restore mobility and improve leg strength. For 12 long years, the muscle in his knee had not been used properly and it took time for him to retrain his leg muscles to support his weight. But Marie Madeleine had the end in sight and, eager to get back to school, she persevered.
Several months after her arrival on the Africa Mercy hospital ship, the bright 13-year-old with a triumphant smile and straight legs was ready to go home and go back to school.
The day after she arrived in her village, Marie Madeleine was back in class. His companions asked him: “How did your leg change?”
She simply replied, “We love God. God has healed me and his plan for me is to walk like this now.
After Marie Madeleine’s surgery, her grandmother’s hopes came true!
“I am very happy to see her go to school with straight legs,” says Adama. “Everything is well now!”
With her determined spirit, Marie Madeleine has already done it. Your journey with Mercy Ships may be over, but you have the rest of your life ahead of you!
Two years after your surgery, you walk better than in years! Many things have changed in his life, but one thing has remained the same: he still loves to learn!
“She goes to school and says she wants to be a doctor!” says Marie Madeleine’s mother. “She wants to help people like they helped her.”