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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Kossin Delou

Sixteen-year-old, Kossin Delou, spent four years of his life sheltered by his family and kept out of the public eye due to an enormous tumor that dominated the left side of his face. When the tumor first appeared, Kossin visited local hospitals in Lomé, Togo. But his family could not afford the necessary surgery. So, the tumor, which started from Kossin's upper jaw, continued to grow. It soon covered his eye, hindering his vision. As the insidious growth enlarged, Kossin's life became more difficult. Kossin's father is a local pastor, and the church is an important part of his family life. But people viewed the tumor as a curse, so Kossin's shame prevented him from attending church. In fact, the children who were once his friends now ridiculed him on the streets and at school. He even felt like an outsider among his own siblings. His emotional turmoil intensified as his dream for his future began to fade away. Kossin wanted to study at a university to become a teacher. He wanted to enrich the lives of children with knowledge and love. His grotesque facial deformity would prevent him from pursuing his education.
Then Kossin came to our hospital ship, the Africa Mercy . After many hours of surgery, he emerged with a newly constructed face.
Joy radiated from Kossin and his family. His father, Pastor Delou, says, "In this life each one of us needs help in some moments of our life. I can say that through Mercy Ships, we have found that help. You can have a bad story - but, before the end of your life , God will open a door and smile deep into your heart. I know that God is working through Mercy Ships for the best in my life and in Kossin 's life ." (3 weeks after surgery standing alongside his father, Pastor Delou) Kossin is ecstatic about his new life. He can go to church with his family and friends. He's no longer an object of ridicule. And - best of all - in September of 2010, Kossin will be able to start school to fulfil his resurrected dream of becoming a teacher.
Written by Joy Clary Edited by Nancy Predaina Photos by Debra Bell and Liz Cantu

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