A grandfather's love spares his family

By: effect:hope

After landing in the capital city of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, our team traveled inland to a village outside the town of Tiassale. The village is called Bodo and the Chief, a kind Christian man, greeted our team and thanked them for everything Canadians do to support his people.

In recent years, effect:hope has invested in educating communities on the importance of being diagnosed and starting treatment immediately after noticing symptoms of any disease, like leprosy. The benefits of these efforts were seen throughout the trip, starting with the people in Bodo.

Among the first families introduced to our team were a brother and sister, Jean-Karel and Justelin. Both are happy, delightful kids. They go to school in the village and experience no stigma because they have no signs of leprosy. Both have chores like other kids and diligently fetch water, do dishes and help their mother before playing with friends.

The children’s grandfather suffered from leprosy. Though they’re unsure how long he had the disease before he passed away, his feet were badly deformed – with scars indicative of leprosy.

So when Justelin noticed an odd patch on her skin, the family immediately took her for help. A short time later, the same symptom appeared on Jean-Karel and again, the family sought medical care right away. Their grandfather had expressed the importance of taking the medicine and regularly going to see the doctor to ensure the children didn’t end up with lifelong disabilities.

His love for his grandchildren spared their lives from the pain and uncertainty of leprosy. Today, neither child has any signs of leprosy and they are free to live their lives dreaming of happy and fulfilling futures.