Bamako, Mali-Beverly Kent, Director of Volunteer Services, Interplast.
Today, our hosts asked us to examine Amadou, a small 8-year-old whose family lives on a farm. Three months ago at the height of the rainy season, Amadou was sent outside to bring in the livestock before the impending storm. As he finished his task, it started to pour. He made a quick dash for the house. Unfortunately, at that exact same moment, Amadou’s aunt was leaving the house with a pot of boiling oil that she was going to dump outside. The two collided at the front door and Amadou was covered with the oil. His face received minor burns, but his torso took the full brunt.
When we arrived at the burn ward, we watched in awe as Amadou’s dressings were taken off for the first time to reveal the severely burned skin beneath. What a courageous little boy! He was skin and bones, his skin so transparent you could see his heart beating. The mother told us that he was not eating and she was very worried.
Dr. Roberto Roddi examined Amadou and turned to our host colleagues to give them medical advice about his care. Amadou was in dire circumstances. If he didn’t receive a skin graft soon, he was afraid the little boy would not make it. He was losing precious proteins everyday and his chance of survival was very low, unless his situation could be reversed. As Roberto was talking, Amadou suddenly reached out his long, skinny arm, and grabbed Roberto’s hand and held on to it as if to say, “You are my last chance—please help me.”
There was not a dry eye in the room.
A few days later, both surgeons, Roberto and Simone, worked on the skin grafting Amadou needed. Today, he is comfortably settled back in his bed in the burn ward. For the first time in three months he feels no pain. He even asked his mother for eggs. The team is feeling pretty good today.