Earlier this year, aid worker Anja Ringgren Loven discovered a sickly and weak two-year-old boy by the name of Hope. Hope had been abandoned by his Nigerian family and was extremely malnourished. Consequently, he had been left to wander the streets for eight months. The reason his family abandoned him? They believed he was a witch, possessed with unwanted spirits from other realms. Although this may seem ludicrous, it is actually quite common in some villages in Africa. Families and sometimes members of the community, will abandon, or even worse kill, children who they believe are touched by unwelcomed magic.
Loven became aware of this bizarre behavior years back, which sparked the creation of her organization. The African Children’s Aid Education and Development Foundation aids in saving children affected by this outlandish thought. At the center the children receive schooling, medical care, and food. When Loven came across Hope, he had been living off of the scraps of food thrown to him by random strangers. He was ridden with worms, and had been living without love for months. And so Loven wrapped a blanket around the young child of just skin-and-bones, and immediately took him to get medical attention.
Hope needed to receive daily blood transfusions to give him more red blood cells, and medication to extract the worms living inside of his stomach. With some diligent care, soon thereafter, Anja reported, “his condition is stable now. He’s taking food for himself and he responds to the medicine he gets.” Because of this diligent and compassionate care, Hope is now doing better than ever and living a good life full of love. Overall, Hope’s recovery took approximately 8 weeks. Loven recently said, “...Hope is really enjoying his life now having 35 new brothers and sisters who ALL take such good care of him, play with him, study with him, and make sure he is safe and is getting a lot of love.”
Hope is now a chunky-faced sweet boy who is fully clothed, receiving education, and most importantly giving and collecting love. Unfortunately, Hope has been recently diagnosed with Hypospadias. This condition is a genital birth defect where the urethra emerges on a certain point on the shaft or the base of the penis, instead of at the tip. Perhaps this was more aggravated by his long months of abandonment and improper care, and so it is clear Hope’s fight is not yet over. But one thing is for certain, Hope is now living the life he deserves, with a little help from a friend.