Hannah, Liberia

Ten-year-old Hannah lives in a small village in Liberia, surrounded by lush, green vegetation. It’s a remote place; it takes two hours, driving on brown dirt to get to the main road.

Hannah spends her days playing with siblings and friends, attending school, fetching water and helping her mother on the farm.

The Day Everything Changed

One day when Hannah was running to call everyone in for dinner, she felt a sudden pain in her knee. The next day a bump appeared on her lower left leg, and then it burst into an ulcer.

So Hannah’s parents did what any good parents would do, they took her to get help. They brought Hannah to a woman in a nearby village who said she could cure the ulcer, but it would cost the family $100. Equivalent of a few month’s wages. Her father only had about $25 saved, so he called together his extended family and asked them to help. He managed to scrape together another $75 so Hannah could get treated. Hannah’s parents were so hopeful their little girl’s leg would be healed. But it didn’t get any better.

On the Verge of Death

Hannah was in pain. She couldn’t walk. Her parents were desperate. So Hannah and her mother travelled hours to the nearest clinic.

When they arrived, the nurse realized right away that Hannah had a very severe case of Buruli ulcer. That day is seared in the nurse’s memory. She remembers back to when Hannah came. “She couldn’t walk – her mother carried her around on her back and Hannah’s leg was bigger than my thigh! We sent for the Buruli ulcer officer right away. He brought the antibiotics personally and immediately because we could see it was so urgent. Hannah was on the verge of death.”

A health worker visits Hannah at her home to check on her leg and change the bandages.

Don’t Give Up

So finally Hannah knew what was wrong with her leg and she was getting the right antibiotics to cure it. And the clinic was giving her the proper care she needed.

But then Ebola struck, and the clinic had to send her home.

Hannah stopped going to school. It was too far to walk on her wounded leg, and her classmates and teacher gave her a hard time. Her friends teased her. She couldn’t carry heavy loads, so she couldn’t help on the farm or fetch water.

But Hannah’s parents did not give up. For months they cared for her, regularly changing the dressings on her leg.

Finally, the Ebola crisis passed and Hannah was able to return to the clinic. The nurse was so relieved to see how well Hannah was faring. Her leg had started to heal and she could walk without pain.

Hope and Healing

And now, Hannah’s parents are confident that their precious daughter will get the care she needs so she can go back to playing with her friends. She can return to school and Buruli ulcer can be a thing of the past.

This is what you make possible. You help bring hope and healing to children like Hannah. Thank you!

Thanks to your support, Hannah has a bright future ahead of her, free from the burden of Buruli ulcer.