10-year-old Abdou

Last year, we profiled Joe and Mame Starke who are serving at a mission hospital in Galmi, Niger. They recently mailed us a story about 10-year-old Abdou that I’d like to pass along. Here it is in the Starkes’ own words: “Abdou…came to Galmi from his village after three weeks of illness. Only the sickest are brought, especially in a year like this when food is scarce and resources need to be conserved. Abdou had typhoid fever; a bacterial illness contracted from dirty water, which can in the worst cases lead to a perforation (hole) in the small intestine. He arrived close to death: dehydrated, septic, profoundly malnourished and anemic. Three surgeries and six weeks later he and his mother smiled and thanked us as we released them from the hospital. In our setting, 1 in 3 children like Abdou will die. Living in an open ward for more than a month, they had seen other young boys who slipped from life before their eyes. Life is not to be taken for granted anywhere, but especially in Niger…”

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