Assiatou’s Mercy Ships physical therapist remembers the moment she knew the 18-year-old was serious about her recovery.
“She had her hair all done and was wearing a beautiful dress — and tennis shoes,” said volunteer Timica.
Assiatou walked with a painfully contracted ankle until her free surgery on board the Africa Mercy in Cameroon. Afterwards, she was free to do things like carry her young son, go to the market, and pursue the dream of having her own business. “I never thought this day would happen,” she said.
At six months old, a car accident left Assiatou with severe burns and a tightly contracted ankle. As she grew up, she adapted by walking on her heel. She was able to continue making the journey to school, but it was painful and exhausting. She felt her dreams would always be limited by her injury.
“I couldn’t see behind or in front, couldn’t see left or right,” she said. “I was caught in a trap.”
Then one day, she heard that Mercy Ships was visiting her country of Cameroon.
Assiatou had a dream of becoming a professional hairstylist. With her nimble fingers and creativity, she knew she had the skill. But she feared a painfully contracted ankle would hold her back. Then, she received surgery on board the Africa Mercy in her home country of Cameroon.
“This is a huge step in my life,” she said. “I never thought this day would happen.”