I met Norman on a Foundation for Peace medical mission trip to a remote village in the Dominican Republic. A typical rambunctious seven-year-old, he was so curious and adventurous, always peeking into our consultation rooms to see what was happening.
The following year when I returned to Norman’s village, something had changed in him. There was no friendly greeting, in fact, he was nowhere in sight. Norman’s father told us he had fallen from a donkey and broken his leg. He was on crutches and unable to run and play with the other children. When I asked him what happened, he wouldn’t even look up at me.
If you have ever broken a bone, you know how painful and frustrating it can be. In Norman’s case, due to a lack of the right medical care, his injury was life threatening. The broken leg had been set improperly, and surgery to correct it had led to a very serious infection. We arranged for Norman to see one of our missionary doctors the following day.
When the doctor unwrapped his leg, she knew instantly how serious Norman’s situation had become. Norman would lose his leg if we didn’t get him the right care immediately. He would need a minimum of 6 months of IV antibiotics just to address the infection alone. Thanks to God this doctor connected us with another colleague, an orthopedic surgeon running a small non-profit in Santa Domingo. He agreed to see Norman right away.
Norman’s perilous journey had just begun. A trip to Santa Domingo for a child of Haitian descent with no legal documentation is no easy task. Three checkpoints, where they search for drugs, guns and Haitians, lay between Norman’s village and the clinic he so desperately needed. I could be arrested for human trafficking if I was caught. He would lose his leg and likely his life if we didn’t go.
We had no choice. We had to risk everything, or Norman could lose everything. We set out for the clinic and as we made our way down the mountain, we saw a rainbow. A beautiful sign from God to have hope and to persevere. And indeed we did, making it through the checkpoints and safely to the clinic.
There at the clinic, Dr. Nelson treated Norman through two surgeries and antibiotics and told us that if we had arrived even one week later, Norman would have needed an amputation. He had 2 inches of bone removed and spent many months with an external fixator to stretch his bone to fill the gap in his bone. During his recovery, Norman and his mother lived with me at the FFP house. With the help of funds from caring donors like you, the FFP staff helped with the daily maintenance of the fixator, covered all their living expenses and got them back and forth to the clinic. Norman is now a record holder for bone growth at Cure international Hospital as well as being a small miracle, running wherever he goes, happy and healthy.
When FFP returned to the community this year, Norman took us on a tour up the mountain to see the coffee plantation. He was back in school and we were able to get him a birth certificate so he can finish his studies to become a doctor.
I believe that God orchestrated this story perfectly. I believe He has big plans for this boy’s life. So many miracles led to this beautiful child being made whole. The mission trip, the missionary doctor, the perilous journey through the checkpoints, not to mention the surgeon who repaired his leg turning out to be one of the best in the world, just to name a few. And finally, part of this story that is also a miracle, the role of our donors at Foundation for Peace. Without their generous support none of this work would have been possible. When donors give to Foundation for Peace, they give us help, they give us hope, and they give life to people like Norman. Thank you and Merry Christmas!
Pastor Kristen Hamner
Dominican Republic National Director
Foundation for Peace
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