And then... I remember.
I remember Fode, once blind, who now stands tall and radiates joy, as he now can see. He looks toward a future filled with new possibilities.
I remember the beautiful ladies whose dignity was restored and they danced with joy on the VVF ward. They now face a future filled with hope instead of despair.
I remember the story of Hadiatou, who was thought to be cursed when she was born with a cleft lip and wasn't even given a proper naming ceremony.
Hadiatou now smiles broadly at the future, whatever comes her way.
I remember Jaka, whose crippling burn as a child kept her from many things...
Now Jaka dances freely towards her future, filled with promise.
Because we were here in Guinea:
1590 people who once were blind can now see.
666 people had facial tumors removed, cleft palates repaired, or other maxillofacial surgeries.
116 kids with club feet or bowed legs now walk straight and tall (orthopedic surgeries)
312 patients had general surgeries (hernias, goiters, etc)
63 women had their dignity restored by VVF repair.
99 patients had plastic surgery
45,000+ dental procedures were performed
13,000+ eye evaluations and treatments were given.
I think about all those people. Each one of those patients has a name and a story and a future ahead of them filled with hope, not despair, promise, dignity, and joy. How can I think, how can I even imagine, that we haven't made a difference here? Really? I pray for each one of them that they would embrace the hope of their future. I pray for the kids that that they would grow up and become strong leaders for their people, with integrity and honesty and a dream of greatness for their nation.
I remember their stories and I remember why we are here, and I find the hopelessness I've been feeling has dissipated; the heart of God for his people is always for good, and the hope that is promised is worth pressing onward.
Thank you, my friends, family, donors, and readers, for being a part of their stories, too. Much love, Krissy