Bagnangui’s wait comes to an end
Bagnangui, the carpenter, is a gentle man from north Togo who suffered stoically for 16 years with disfiguring growths.
At age 14, three pimples appeared on each cheek. When they continued to grow to large tumours, Bagnangui had to have them removed. But they grew back. He tried skin creams but they did nothing. On a third visit, doctors said they could remove the tumors again for 100,000 CFA (about 200 CHF). But without money, he would have to live with them.
The tumors grew until the left side of his face had a two-foot long drop that looked like a bag of rocks. It interfered with work and scared people. At 30, Bagnangui had no wife, children or friends. Isolated, he waited and hoped.
One day, Bagnangui heard about a Mercy Ship coming to his country. That night, he dreamed he was in a big crowd when a plane flew over with the former president in it calling to Bagnangui, „Sign your name. I'll see what we can do.“
Shortly thereafter, the local hospital invited him to attend a Mercy Ships screening for possible surgeries onboard their hospital ship. Bagnangui saw people with many deformities getting added to the surgical list. Would there be room for him? Yes! Bagnangui’s signature went into the last appointment slot. He would get the surgery he needed!
Weeks later, volunteer doctors onboard the Mercy Ship successfully removed the tumors. When Bagnangui awoke in recovery, a nurse handed him a mirror. He could not believe what he saw - no huge tumors hanging down from his face. Though the swelling and the bandages from surgery still hid much of his face, the reflection showed a new man in that mirror!