Saturday, April 2, 2016 2:34 pm
It’s a story that throws us back to the 19th century when the practice of killing twins was prevalent in some parts of eastern Nigeria. And there came a Mary Slessor from England who took the abandoned twins away and nursed them back to health, giving them the care their ignorant and superstitious parents denied them.
Back in eastern Nigeria, this time in Uyo, not far from Calabar that Slessor had trodden, there is a Danish woman, Anja Ringgren Loven performing a similar role.
She has been dealing with the ignorance-fuelled practice of of labelling some kids, girls and boys, witches(don’t mind the gender ignorance), abandoning them in the bush and allowing them to die.
Loren found such a baby, a two-year-old in the bush on 31 January. He was abandoned eight months earlier. He was found emaciated and riddled with worms after his family left him for dead.
A picture of the starving toddler being given a sip of water by the aid worker broke hearts around the world when it was published. Loven was able to raise $1million in donations to cover the medical bill of the baby and other victims like he.
And now Ms Loven has shared a series of photographs of the toddler now called Hope, showcasing his miraculous recovery in just eight short weeks.
Hope is unrecognisable. He has gained weight and has been pictured smiling and playing with other children.
Ms Loven uploaded new photos of Hope on Saturday, and wrote: ‘As you can see on the pictures, Hope is really enjoying his life now having 35 new brothers and sisters who ALL take such good care of him, play with him, study with him, and make sure he is safe and is getting a lot of love.’
But she explained Hope has hypospadias, a genital birth defect meaning the urethra emerges somewhere on the shaft or even the base of the penis, instead of at the tip.
She added: ‘The doctors found this inborn condition on Hope, so next week Hope will have surgery.
‘This is an operation the doctors have performed many times, so Hope will be very fine.’
Ms Loven is the founder of African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation, which she created three years ago to help children who have been labelled witches and therefore neglected or even killed by the members of their community.
Ms Loven runs a children’s centre where the youngsters she saves live and receives medical care, food and schooling. She and her husband, David Emmanuel Umem, began building their own orphanage in late January. And with the donations that came for Hope, they now intend to build a clinic too in the orphanage.