Kristy Scott has seen a lot during her 30 years of working in developing countries across the world for Children’s Food Fund/World Emergency Relief. But even she was shocked when she met Exoce, a 4-year-old Congolese boy with a 10 lb. tumor on his kidney.
Scott was visiting Kaziba, a mountain village in DR Congo, where CFF/WER has worked for nearly a decade. The charity’s long-term support in this community reflects its philosophy: provide relief when needed, but also provide the material support and expertise needed to strengthen a community over time and make it more resilient in the next crisis.
In this remote village, CFF/WER supports a doctor who has been working to improve the community’s small, overburdened hospital. This is being accomplished through financial and educational support for Congolese doctors and providing medical equipment that can make a big difference.
A great example is a cauterizer, which Scott calls “such a simple tool. It looks like an electronic pen. It burns surgical incisions, greatly decreasing bleeding. It’s one small item that has made a huge difference for this hospital and its patients.”
Scott was in Congo to sit in on a surgery, to see her donors’ dollars hard at work. The small group of Congolese doctors, travelling as part of a CFF/WER sponsored medical mission, performed 86 surgeries in one week.
One memorable patient was Exoce, whose tumor weighed a third of his body weight. Scott was amazed when Exoce awoke from his surgery and gave the thumbs-up sign. A few weeks later, when Exoce was back at home, he looked like a different boy.
“The surgeries we sponsor are often life-changing. Exoce would have died. Each surgery, including medicines, supplies, doctors and hospital charges costs around $100. Look at the impact such a relatively small sum of money can have on a child’s life.”
As hard and emotionally draining as it can be working in developing countries, seeing Exoce’s recovery and the many other concrete signs of her charity’s work is what has kept Scott at it for so many years. “Passion and compassion keep me going. It’s not easy work. But at the same time, it is extremely rewarding.”
--Photos by Kristy Scott