Loss is a part of life, something to which we must all grow accustomed. It's in those moments that we most need friends. Radiatou Boukari's story began with her mother leaving her at age four, but ended with some incredible friendships.
At age ten a pain in her gums quickly turned into a massive lump. Everyone in her life abandoned her over her disfigurement. The lump grew for years until they heard that the Africa Mercy was in Lome. Her father took her to the port only to discover that the ship had already set sail.
Shortly thereafter the Africa Mercy returned. Radiatou found someone who could help her and, importantly, crew from the Africa Mercy found and befriended her.
Their friendship began in line at the medical screening in Lome, and continued from there. As she moved to one of the wards, the loneliness and despair that had descended on Radiatou over the previous decade began to lift.
The renewal of Radiatou's life began with the removal of the deformity that had left her shunned and alone.
Parting with the ship and her new friends drew tears to her eyes, „The love you have shown us has made us feel so welcomed, you have loved us as if we were family. You will always be family to me.“