Baba had a kitchen accident at his home in Senegal when he picked up the lid of a pot. Minutes later his hands and arms caught on fire, leaving him with burns so severe that he could no longer use his arm. He was used to manual labour as his family were peanut growers. After the accident, he was unsure how he would continue to work and take care of himself financially, let alone his family.
Baba was able to receive free reconstructive plastic surgery on board the Africa Mercy in 2019. After the operation, he regained the use of his arm and hand so that he could resume farming. He was so grateful for his new lease of life that he became motivated to not only become a better farmer, but passionate about helping his local community of peanut farmers too.
The “Organic Way”
Two years later, in 2021, Baba enrolled in the Mercy Ships ‘Food for Life’ program. This program has trained more than 800 people in nine countries since 2007. The 22-week course covers sustainable agriculture and food processing, helping community members become independent growers and distributors of healthy, nutritional products.
“Baba did not learn only how to grow crops using natural resources, but also how to process foods,” said Eliphaz Essah, who manages the program. “Today, he is capable of producing ginger syrup, yoghurt, and infant-feeding porridge to alleviate severe malnutrition issues in his community.”
Now, Baba wants to start his own food production business as well as show his neighbours how to produce vegetables to sell at the local market, process local products like ginger, bissap, and milk as well as how to raise poultry, feeding them only organic food.
“Many of his classmates were touched by his testimony,” said Eliphaz. “He became a source of motivation for the rest of the class.”
The other students called him ‘King Baba’ as he strived to be a good example and help others in his class, as well as being passionate about the ripple effect of teaching these new skills to his community so they could be self-sustainable.
“I never thought I would have this opportunity to have my operation and then take training in agroecology,” Baba said. “Thank you very much to Mercy Ships for the change they have made in my
It’s not only Baba and his fellow students whose lives have been changed. The ripple effect of transformation grows as all the students of the ‘Food for Life’ program return home to empower their friends, family, and neighbours.
Every graduate from the ‘Food for Life’ program is given the resources and tools to go back in to their communities and share their knowledge with other aspiring farmers. This helps to develop and strengthen sustainable health systems.
“Through this program, the amount of disease found in the communities has reduced,” Eliphaz said.
We will continue to invest in farming, because to have good health, you need good nutrition too. This program is currently being expanded across Senegal, Liberia and Benin.
Other people are suffering like Baba through injury and children are suffering from malnutrition as a result of not eating quality food. Can we count on your support today to help restore hope to more people like Baba?
Every time you show kindness to patients like Baba you are restoring their hope and giving them a chance to restart their life, not only for themselves but also for their families and communities. Every gift, big or small helps to change a life.
Thanks to a group of generous business owners, all gifts received for Mercy Ships Programs will be doubled until 30 June 2023.