Story of Mariama

Both Mamadou and Alimatou dreamed of having a family, and several months after they were married, their dream became a reality. Soon, Alimatou gave birth to their first child, a little girl who they named Mariama.

Their little girl, who is now 7 months old, is a lively and healthy baby, but a severe facial cleft strains her joyful smile. This facial cleft affects little Mariama’s lip and her nose, making it difficult for her to eat and causes her parents to worry about their child’s future.

Since pediatric services capable of treating baby Mariama’s condition are not readily available in their small town, local doctors directed Mariama’s father to Senegal’s capital city in hopes that the specialized hospitals there would be able to help.

Unfortunately, once he was in Dakar, Mamadou began an uphill battle of navigating the different hospitals in search of healing for his little girl. Eventually, he heard about a hospital ship docked in the port of Dakar, which was full of volunteer medical professionals offering life-changing surgeries to those in need.

One week after signing up for the screening with Mercy Ships, Mamadou received a phone call announcing that his daughter had been chosen for surgery.

“I give thanks to God first, and I am very grateful to Mercy Ships,” Mamadou said. “I’m happy. Thank you!”

After her surgery, Mariama and her family stayed at the HOPE center where her mother learned how to make nutritional baby formula and learned about the importance of nutrition for their child. Once she had recovered, Mariama was finally able to return home to her family, happy and healthy!


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"On behalf of the Liberian people, I wish to thank all the volunteers on the ship who come from all over the world for their sacrifice and the comfort they have given to so many poor and needy Liberians. Their work goes beyond compassion and healing the sick. It shows that the world is a global village, with no racial and social boundaries. The Liberian people are grateful."
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - President (2006-2018), Liberia