Maryam had been shunned by other villagers because she had cleft lip and could not speak fluently like other kids in the village. She had no friends to play around with. Everyone believes she’s bad luck until one day – the day Maryam would never forget. That was the day OHAI AFRICA through its free cleft lip and palate surgery programme came to her neighbourhood, changed her story and gave her a new look.
Maryam was birthed at home. There had been no clinic in the village at in Bole in Adamawa state at the time her mother was pregnant with her so her mother could not attend antenatal. She grew up into a world in which the only people in her social life circle were her father, mother and two siblings who were hardly available for her to gist and play with.
Her father, Adamu, a farmer was almost always at the farm tilling the land or out with the cattle for grazing. Her mother, a petty trader, sold cooking ingredients like pepper, onions, okra, salt and other small household necessities at the small village square market. Put together, the family’s income was never enough to send Maryam to the city for treatment, not that they would if it had been enough because they never knew cleft lip could be treated. She was condemned to live the rest of her life an outcast for though she was not openly scorned, she wasn’t accepted fully.
Her siblings, who had no cleft had a dozen of friends to play around with at the village square living Maryam at home alone. The family was so excited when the OHAI’s team of mobilisers arrived at the village and spoke to them about the possibility of a treatment. They received the news with gladness and joy as they never thought their daughter was going to live a normal life like their other children.
Today, Maryam no longer feels like an outcast. She has a lot of friends both at home and at the neighbourhood where her Mum’s stall is located. She always has a quick and ready smile for everyone she comes in contact with.
Source: Ohai Africa