School Sisters of Notre Dame – Africa

Transforming the World through Education


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Sule’s Story Part II

After six operations Sule has now on the right hand five fingers and on his left hand a thumb and a pointer. With his right hand he is able to eat, to write, to paint, to dress himself. Still it needs a lot of training to get strength back into his fingers. In the end of January the doctor will separate the fingers (they will only be stumps) of his left hand. When the wounds are healed Sule and Sr. Elis will return to Ghana for some time.

It is necessary for him Sule to reconnect with his father, brother and the OTC. After some months Sule will return to Munich to undergo the final operations. The doctor will stretch his thumbs to give him an optimal ability to grab things with his hands.

That’s why Sule sometimes sings “Happy Birthday”  to his fingers.  They are being reborn with each operation.  Shouldn’t we do the same in gratitude for all the gifts we are given through our bodies?  (This story was written by Sister Elis, who accompanied Sule to Germany.)

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Sule tries even with the bandages on.

Sule rejoices in his new fingers.

Sule rejoices in his new fingers.

All kinds of new activities are open to Sule.

All kinds of new activities are open to Sule.

 

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Sule’s Story Part 1

Sule is an intelligent boy. Every morning he is home schooled.  Sule is only 6 but he already knows how to read and write and do calculations. Sule is staying with the School Sisters of Notre Dame at one of our convents in Germany.

On St. Nicholas Day Sule visited the Sisters in the dining hall dressed as Saint Nicholas. He read his self-made little speech from his golden book, a message which touched all:

“Dear Sisters, I wish you that you are always happy. If you are angry with a sister just sorry and I love you even if you are angry with me.”

Then he gave each sister a sweet with his small “new” hand. Sometimes he sings happy birthday to his fingers.

Sule’s story began when he was three and it began a long way from Germany in Ghana. Sule lived with his aunt.  She sent the 3 year old with a coin to buy some charcoal.  Somehow Sule lost the coin.  Out of anger his aunt roasted his hands and feet in a fire.  He was left with fourth degree burns on his hands and legs.  He was not taken to a hospital.  Instead his mother and his aunt treated the burns with salt water and eggs.

Later he was taken to the hospital but the doctor who bandaged his hands did not bandage his fingers and toes separately.  This left Sule with stumps on both his hands and feet.   Sule’s parents divorced and he lived with his father who tried everything to get him help.  Sister Liz Newman who ministers at the Orthopedic Training Center in Nsawam, Ghana became interested in what could be done for Sule.   She appealed for help and, along with Sister Elis found a reconstructive surgeon in Munich, Germany willing to operate to give Sule some relief.

It was the only chance for this child that otherwise would be condemned to living a life not only of dependence but having a cultural stigma.  When Prf. Ninkovic gave his final Yes to operate on Sule’s club hands, fund-raising was begun in Germany and among our friends. People were touched by Sule’s condition and helped find the needed amount of  money for the surgeries. In early November 2012 Sr. Elis flew with Sule to Munich where the Sisters of the Motherhouse warmly welcomed them. Since this time Sule is a “member” of the Candidate community, who helped him to feel at home.

These pictures are hard to see but there is hope for Sule through the generosity of many people.  More about Sule’s progress in the next post.

Sule's burned hands

Sule’s hands having been burned and not treated properly.

Sule tries

Sule taught himself to function as best he could.