Friday, October 7, 2011

Sally Kargbo

“Sometimes, I would just sit down and cry,” said Sally with great emotion. For seventeen years, people laughed at her and mocked her because of her legs – horribly misshapen and knock-kneed. The constant verbal abuse made her feel ashamed. Walking was difficult and tiring, so she didn’t go to school. She just stayed at home in her misery.

The problem was caused by an automobile accident when she was only ten years old. A witch doctor blanketed her legs with a native concoction of boiled leaves. Splints of wooden sticks were tied to her legs for three months. But nothing changed; she returned home with bent legs. Without money for surgery, she had to learn to live with her disability.

Three years ago, Sally’s parents died. Since she had no siblings, she went to live with a friend. Her friend found a mentor to teach Sally to sew, and she eventually went to work at a dressmaker’s shop. In fact, she hopes to own her own shop some day.

A new friend at work told her that a Mercy Ship, offering orthopedic surgeries at no charge, would soon be in Sierra Leone. She encouraged Sally to go to the screening. The volunteer surgeons on the Africa Mercy surgically repaired her legs and put them in casts.

A jubilant Sally walks on her own straight legs. When she awoke in the ward, she was delighted to see that her legs were both straight in the casts. But when her casts were changed, she was ecstatic. “I could SEE my legs were straight!” said Sally with a brilliant smile. “It’s like a dream, and I’m an angel that can walk on straight legs!”

While Sally was recuperating from surgery, she received some very special guests – the wives of the President and Vice President of Sierra Leone! The moment was captured by a photographer and printed in the local paper. This was a highlight for all the patients in the ward, who dubbed her “Queen Sally.” She had never received such recognition before and thoroughly enjoyed the reflected glory of the event. It was a great start in helping Sally think of herself in a new and more positive light.

Another bonus of the surgery is that her straightened legs add height to her physical stature. When she walked on her bandaged legs for the first time, she exclaimed, “I’m so amazed! I used to be a short somebody. Now, I’m tall!”

A free surgery revolutionized the life of this young woman with the bubbly personality. Sally already knows what she will do first upon being released from the hospital ship. “I want to give my testimony at church of what Mercy Ships did for me,” she states firmly. “If it were not for Mercy Ships, I was going to die with legs like that, because I had no money. I was mocked every place I went. I’m thanking God for what He has done for me, and I’m asking Him to bless you people.”

Story by Elaine Winn
Edited by Nancy Predaina
Photos by Debra Bell

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