Vanya was a cute and happy orthopaedic patient despite her deformity. Vanya, walks across the dock toward the gangway, holding her mother’s hand tightly, as her hair dances in the breeze.

MGB150416_VANYA_BEFORE_AND_AFTER_PS_FR_RP001Nearby, a large, white ship sits quietly at the dock. The words AFRICA MERCY are strewn across it, and it watches her with a knowing smile. It sees her legs, which look like the wind was trying to sweep them to the side. This deformity is appropriately called “windswept legs.” The ship knows that soon her legs will be swept no more.

She is quiet, sweet, and seems to be unable to stop smiling. After she has finished posing for pictures, one of the Mercy Ships photographers gushes, “She’s so smiley! She’s so cute!”

Vanya is like a gust of wind that leaves little leaves of happiness in her trail. Two of the day-crew declared, “She’s so happy!”

But life hasn’t been easy for this sweet little ten-year-old girl because of the physical appearance of her legs. With sad eyes, she told her mother that her friends make fun of her. She cannot run or participate in the activities enjoyed by other children.

Her physical problem is the source of another major frustration. Vanya dreams of becoming a dressmaker or stylist. Her legs limit her wardrobe options to only wide pants. She longs to wear skirts or leggings. She states her dream for life after surgery: “If my feet are fixed, whatever I want, like the other little girls!”

As the months passed after surgery, Vanya got her wish! The orthopaedic team removed her casts and she had perfectly straight legs! The physical deformity was swept away, clearing the way for a new and bright future.

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