A massive mudslide killed over 1000 people, many buried alive while sleeping, in the early morning of August 14, 2017. It was the worst (but not the first) of such disasters to occur in Freetown, where coastal mountains are overpopulated by impoverished people who cannot afford plots on more levelled terrain. Up to 120 to 150 inches of rain can fall on Freetown during their six-month rain season.
Fatmata Sesay, age 42, lost her lower left leg. In July 2020, almost 5 years after losing her leg in a mudslide, Fatmata Sesay was fitted with a prosthetic lower left leg by Abu Benjamin Tarawallie, the Founding Director of Africa Surgery’s new partner organization, ORMS.
She was born with a badly deformed lower right leg. At 7 months, in 2010, she had her first surgery when the Mercy Ship was anchored in the Freetown Harbor. Africa Surgery arranged a second surgery by an O-D-W clubfoot specialist in November 2018, and a third and final surgery in October 2019.
By January, 2020, Jariatu’s lower right leg and foot were healed and perfectly straightened and we had her fitted with a custom-made extra-high shoe lift, to equalize the lengths of her legs. After missing a lot of classroom time, Jariatu, now age 10, is attending school again, with help from an Africa Surgery sponsorship.
Alpha Kargbo was first visited in October 2016 by two orthopedic surgeons from the German-based organization Ortopaedie-für-die-Dritte Welt (O-D-W). They hoped to be able to save his badly infected right leg. Alpha, age 8 at the time, had suffered for two years with a bone infection of unknown origin, and that had destroyed his knee joint and continued to spread. Despite three or more surgeries and different regimens of antibiotic medications, Alpha finally lost his battle against the infection, which was threatening his life.
Africa surgery asked the O-D-W team to amputate Alpha’s leg above the knee, in January 2020. Alpha, a quiet but gutsy 12-year-old by then, wanted to go to school and to play with his friends on two legs again. Africa Surgery made arrangements for their partner organization, Orthopedic Rehabilitation and Medical Services-Sierra Leone (ORMS-SL), to fabricate and fit Alpha with a prosthetic right leg and foot, including a knee joint that will actually work for him.
Moribah Tommy, a crippled, hard-working blacksmith, was one of the many disabled persons who were on the waiting list for a mobility cart. In 2018 and early 2019, Africa Surgery had distributed 60 mobility carts donated by Mobility World Wide (mobilityworldwide.org) to victims of polio and other disabled persons.
In October 2019 Africa Surgery sent another container to Sierra Leone. It included 80 more mobility carts, and Moribah finally received the cart that allows him to move around his village (Matru-Jong) with ease and dignity.
I have been back for more than three months now after spending over one year directing our programs in Sierra Leone. Schools were opening when I left and, thanks to the help of many of you, our donors, over 100 children are now attending school with help from Africa Surgery. When I return after my next visit, I will have photos and gratitude letters from all of our sponsored students.
Our in-country teams continue to provide free medical and surgical treatments, orthotic supplies and braces to needy Sierra Leoneans. At this end, I am repairing sewing machines and will soon be collecting wheelchairs, crutches, clothing, shoes, and other items to fill a 40-foot container that we plan to ship, possibly in May. We have already collected half of the $7,000 needed to ship the container. You can easily donate toward the cost of this shipment by visiting the Assumption website, assumptionparish.org, and scrolling down to “Africa Surgery – Shipping Container Campaign.” In March I will post a list of needed items and directions for donating.
We are a unique charity. Virtually 100% of our funds are spent for the medical and surgical care of Sierra Leonean children and adult patients. Less than 1% of our revenue covers our extremely low administrative costs.
In Sierra Leone, simple surgeries cost slightly over $100. No donation is too small. Every dollar counts.
Africa Surgery, Inc. is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit. Your donations are tax-deductible in the United States.