A mother’s love and resolve

By Amy Fischer
CSI volunteer and board member

A mother’s love and resolve is a powerful force. This week, I have had the honor and pleasure of witnessing this in a powerful way. 

In March, Abuzer Said and his mother traveled more than two days by bus to Bahir Dar in hopes of getting surgery for Abuzer’s cleft lip and improving his future. Unfortunately, her infant son was too young to be considered for Children’s Surgery International’s schedule, and she was told to come back for our November screening day. She did, but the arduous travel prevented her from arriving on time to be considered for surgery this week. 

Undeterred, she came to the hospital on Monday, our first day of surgery, hoping for an opening in the schedule. Again, we told her our schedule was full and that she should go home and come back in March 2020. Tuesday when we arrived, she was still at the hospital. Again, she was told to go home. Yesterday, our ENT surgeons said they would be able to add on one more surgery. We went to the lobby to see if by chance Abuzer and his mom were still waiting. They were! You can only imagine the smile on mom’s face when we were told that surgery was possible. 

This is my third trip as a non-medical CSI volunteer, and I have been fortunate to be welcomed into the OR to observe surgeries. I have always wanted to follow a patient from check-in through surgery, and I  knew this was my opportunity, because little Abuzer and his mother captured my heart. The surgery, performed by CSI volunteer surgeon Greg Kelts, was a success, and after Abuzer’s anesthesia recovery, nurses Dody Barr and Jan Gauger gave me the honor of returning Abuzer to his mother’s arms. We both had tears of joy! 


This morning, I went to visit Abuzer in the ward, and through an interpreter spoke to his mom. She said: “I was happy when you said he could have surgery. I never cried during his operation because I had faith in your doctors and I knew they would do a good job.” Abuzer’s father is a farmer and was unable to accompany them to the hospital because it is harvest season. He has been told that his son’s lip has been repaired, and he says thank you to the CSI team; he can’t wait to see his “new” son. 

His mom says, “We were very sad when our son was born with a problem. But now he has been born a second time. We say here that ‘we give birth again’.” When I complimented her on her strength and persistence, she said, “When a child is born with a problem, it makes you stronger. May God bless you all.”

Abuzer Said is a lucky little boy to have such a mother. 

Explore more photos from CSI’s Ethiopia mission on our Flickr album.