20 years of pain and anguish
Perseverance pays off
Kotiam sits on a bed in a ward onboard the world’s largest non-governmental hospital ship, the Africa Mercy. The goitre that occupied his neck is gone, having been skilfully removed by surgeons only a day ago. “I come from a poor family. I had to sell my goat to get money so I could travel here to the ship. It was not easy to do,” he says. “But when I saw the ship, it was like meeting a brother that I had not seen for years.”
This is an amazing story of a man persevering. The growth on Kotiam's neck had been forming over 20 years, leaving him often in excruciating pain and unable to farm his land properly. As a result, his family rarely had enough to eat and his children were unable to attend school regularly.
News of Mercy Ships spreads
One day news arrived in the village that doctors from a foreign land were willing to operate on people with sicknesses and conditions much like his own, free of charge. Kotiam travelled to the region where it was said the doctors were working. By the time he arrived there, all he found was an empty building littered with flyers and posters. Bewildered he leaned down to pick up a flyer. A picture of a woman with a swollen neck like his own was next to a picture of the same woman with a normal neck. It was not long before Kotiam had dialled the telephone number on the flyer. The rest is history!