Her name was Anicette, but we all called her Ani. We taught her mama the Annie theme song... Tomorrow, tomorrow, I'll love you tomorrow, You're always a day away." Last year in Benin while I was working in admissions, the pediatric nurses would bring in the feeding program babies. These babies were so tiny they got lost in their blankets. Ani's mama brought her to the ship to find help for her sweet little girl that was born with a cleft lip and palate. First she had to gain weight before surgery. So the ward nurses took extra time teaching mama how to feed her. I remember praying for them. I wanted to see Ani in the operating room to close the huge gap in her lip that continued on to the top of her mouth. She would never know the ridicule her mother received because of the birth defect. Ani would grow up to have a beautiful smile. I would visit Ani and Mama often at the hospitality center where she was getting bigger by the day. Finally, the day came when Dr. Gary Parker closed her lip with thin purple suture. Her mama was ecstatic to see her in recovery and cried tears of gratefulness.
We were all so happy to send Ani home to her village and to have her return for surgery here in Togo. Ani and her mama did come back. However, Ani was sick and being over a year old, weighed only 9 lbs. All the medical knowledge and skill we have on the ship, could not give us the answers we wanted to our questions. She was so sick and lost the fight today. Anicette is now in the arms of her Heavenly Father. The Father that allowed us to love on her and her mama for many days- to show them mercy and compassion when no one else did. Lord, I praise you for being Ani's ultimate Healer. Give comfort and strength to her Mama.