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Mercy Ships Releases Abel Dalome Just in Time for Father's Day - A Father's Dream Becomes a Reality,
Date:6/17/2010

hing any other boy could do. He even played as the goalkeeper on a soccer team. Unfortunately, his startling appearance often made him the object of ridicule and insulting remarks – sometimes even beatings from other children.

Through all the unpleasantness, Kouego was Abel’s rock – the strong center of his world. Kouego taught his son not to respond in bitterness or revenge. Abel learned to meet intolerance with tolerance. And he does it with a brilliant smile – a smile much like his dad’s.

Then friends told Kouego that a big white hospital ship had come to Togo. Mercy Ships operates the world’s largest nongovernmental hospital ship and provides free surgeries to people in countries without adequate health care. Abel and his father travelled many miles by motorbike and car to reach the Africa Mercy, desperately hoping that the volunteer surgeons could straighten Abel’s legs. Their long journey was rewarded when Abel received the precious appointment card for orthopaedic surgery on both legs. Mercy was definitely on its way!

The medical process was intricate and long. A surgery on the left leg was followed a few days later by a surgery on the right leg. Next came many days of shuttling to and from the post- operative care unit to the ship for follow-up care. About eight weeks later a third procedure was done – plastic surgery on his knees. A slight infection cost another week; then came the therapy sessions to retrain the leg muscles to work normally.

Through it all, Kouego stayed beside his son. With gentle and loving patience, he encouraged and supported him. He slept on a mattress under Abel’s bed in the ward, and next to him at the Hospitality Center. There must have been times when he was weary of sitting and waiting – but he never gave any sign of fatigue. With good humor, he was always ready to do whatever was next on the agenda to “straight leg
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