Liberia today has over 114 orphanages. They are not regulated by the government and healthcare for the children is non-existent. This story is about 3 orphan boys who were able to have surgery with CSI in 2010.
Last Tuesday Jeremiah, Joshua, and Fumbeh received life-changing hernia repair surgeries, thanks to the amazing team of surgeons and medical staff from Children’s Surgery International (CSI). The CSI team was here for one week and performed hundreds of facial, hernia, and burn surgeries. And they did it all for free!
The need for these surgeries was so big here that the CSI team was overwhelmed. I brought seven children in for preliminary evaluations by the Liberian team prior to CSI arriving. The night before I was supposed to bring them back to be assessed by the CSI surgeon, Dr. Steve, I was told that there were only 13 surgical spots left and over 100 people were staying overnight hoping for one of them.
Elena and I left early the next morning, the car loaded with seven excited children, without much hope of any of our kids receiving the surgeries that they needed. As we headed down the road we wondered out loud if it was even worth going. I asked one of the kids to pray, and as Jeremiah's prayer floated up from the backseat, I could feel the mood in the car change. I started getting excited and had a feeling we were going to be witnessing a miracle (because that is what it was going to be if any of my kids were actually going to have surgery this week).
We were over an hour late arriving, and as I drove up to the hospital, I passed through a crowd of mothers and children waiting to be seen. We were greeted at the door by the screening team and were told there are only nine spots left. Then I realized, as we were escorted straight back to see the surgeon, they were waiting for us! Dr. Steve examined the children one by one and, in the end, three of the seven were selected to have surgery. (We actually ended up taking three of the last five surgery spots!) The other four received the promise of being at the top of the list for surgery when the CSI team returns next year. Amazing!
Jeremiah, Joshua, and Fumbeh received lots of love and attention from the entire CSI team and were totally spoiled—chocolate pudding and TV watching! And they were even able to experience an elevator (“the moving room”) and flushing toilets for the first time. They really did not want to leave the hospital when it was time to go. A week later, all three boys are doing great! Thanks again to Lora, Anna, Jennifer, Emmi, Dr. Steve, and the rest of the Children's Surgery International team. Thanks also to Dan Adomitis and Firestone for allowing them to use Firestone’s hospital. They did over 20 surgeries a day the entire week they were here and changed all kinds of Liberian lives, including three that are very close to my heart.