A Father, A Daughter and Gratitude

Beatrice, her father and FAME's Social Worker Angel Obeid

Beatrice, her father and FAME's Social Worker Angel Obeid

In Africa, it may take a village to raise a child, but I am increasingly convinced it takes a global village to keep one alive. From the Tanzanian staff, to the volunteers, to the neighboring facilities, to the circle of consultants around the world, and the ever-expanding network of donors and supporters, the work of FAME really is a global collaboration…. the contributions of so many around the world focused on a small facility in rural Africa bringing health, hope and love to so many people in need of all of these.
— Volunteer Dr. Joyce Cuff
Dr Gabriel Kissima and volunteer cardiologist Dr Reed Shnider performing a heart echo on Beatrice

Dr Gabriel Kissima and volunteer cardiologist Dr Reed Shnider performing a heart echo on Beatrice

No story better illustrates the power of a “global village” to keep a child alive than the story of Beatrice. Having already been diagnosed with congenital heart disease, she first came to FAME on Sept. 1, 2008, at age five. After confirming a leaky heart valve on a cardiac echo, the FAME team began providing her with the long-term care she needed to buy time, continue in school, and live a reasonably normal life. Finally, in 2016 she was bumped up on the government waiting list and scheduled for surgery at the new heart institute in Dar es Salaam, 488 miles away.

Beatrice and her father came by FAME earlier this year to say THANK YOU to FAME and those who support our work. Their words were translated from Kiswahili to English by Angel, the FAME social worker…

My name is Alfred Dafi, and this is my daughter Beatrice. We are here today because we wanted to thank you and FAME Medical very much for taking care of us. Beatrice was diagnosed at seven months with a heart problem. We went through a lot trying to figure out a solution, and visited many hospitals in the region to find a treatment for her, unfortunately, nobody was able to help us.

In 2008, I heard about a new hospital called FAME in Karatu where there was a doctor named Doctor Frank. We decided to come to FAME and consult Doctor Frank. He received us, listened to us and gave us some different tests. They confirmed Beatrice’s diagnosis, and told us that she should keep attending the clinic regularly.

Doctor Frank told me that he would do his best to help Beatrice with support from other expatriates and foreign doctors. In 2016, we received a call from Muhimbili hospital telling us there will be a heart surgeon specialist coming to Tanzania to operate on people with the same diagnosis as Beatrice.

I really thank God because we started the process with a huge assistance from FAME Medical and on the 26th of April 2016 Beatrice underwent a very successful surgery.
I have no way to thank almighty Jesus, Doctor Frank, sponsors, and everybody who participated in making this happen. May God bless you abundantly. Thanks again.
— Alfred Dafi, Beatrice's father
 
Beatrice in 2008

Beatrice in 2008

 
My name is Beatrice and I would love to say thank you very much to Doctor Frank and his team for making this happen. It was not an easy journey for my family and myself. I have nothing to pay back, but God Himself will. Today, I am healthy and back at school. I wish to keep on growing healthy and get a good education so that later I can help those who are undergoing the same problem I had before. Thank you very much Doctor Frank for bringing FAME Medical in Karatu. and for helping me get the surgery I needed at Muhimbili Hospital. God bless you all.
— Beatrice
 
Beatrice after her successful surgery

Beatrice after her successful surgery

 

We at FAME would like to thank all our international donors and the Rotary Club of Arusha, for financing Beatrice’s long-term care and finally her surgery in Dar es Salaam. We would like to thank our own Dr. Gabriel for providing such conscientious medical care for Beatrice and for helping her father navigate the complex system that would ultimately get her the surgery she needed in her home country. And we would like to thank the many volunteers, especially Dr. Reed Shnider and Marjorie Boor, for keeping a close eye on her condition over the years, providing expert advice from near and far and never ever giving up.