Espoir stands tall

FOOTBALL! Just the mention of the word grabbed the attention of four-year-old Espoir. Espoir is a bright and very active little boy living in Togo, West Africa. His mother says he „jumps everywhere all the time.“ He arrived on the Africa Mercy like a bolt of electricity, energizing the entire ward.

Espoir was born with bowed legs, making him the target of teasing from the children in his first-grade class. They said his legs looked like the letter „O“. Espoir always responded, „I’m just like you!“ He never let them see how their words hurt him. Espoir didn’t get discouraged and, in fact, played a forward position on his soccer team.

When Espoir’s mother heard a television announcement about a hospital ship that had come to Togo to provide free surgeries, she took Espoir to the ship’s medical screening. Soon he boarded the Africa Mercy for the life-transforming surgery that would straighten his legs, and put an end to the cruel ridicule.