Over the next seveal blog posts we are excited to share a unique perspective of the GlobalFingerprints program with you! Dr. Dave Staab serves as one of ReachGlobal’s staff doctors, and has served on a medical team that recently visited GlobalFingerprints’ Liberia Site as well!
“When our medical team arrived at the New Hope School in Caldwell, Liberia, it was incredibly hot. Upon my own personal arrival in Liberia, I couldn’t help but notice the number of people wearing long sleeves, down-filled jackets, and hats. So I wasn’t too surprised to see a teenage girl wearing a stocking hat amongst the curious school children who greeted both myself and our medical team. We were there to perform an outdoor health screening visit consisting of establishing age, checking height and weight, listening to the heart and lungs, checking hemoglobin levels, and encouraging the kids to continue their studies.
When Sarah came up for her turn wearing her stocking hat, her story was finally shared. Her child advocate, Mardea, explained that Sarah had suffered hair loss as a toddler after an undisclosed illness. Sarah was embarrassed, anxious, always on the verge of tears, and in great pain about her baldness. I asked Nancy, one of my fellow team members, to comfort Sarah while I took a look. Sarah shook as I lifted the slightest corner of her stocking hat. I could see no hair nor feel any stubble. Sarah was a bald thirteen-year-old girl. I would have liked to do a much more thorough exam but recognized how my examination could easily become traumatic for Sarah. So, I stopped and let Nancy hold the tearful teen in a comforting embrace.
I cannot imagine life for Sarah in a village full of boys far too eager to pull off her stocking hat and laugh at her. Sarah’s one and only safe place were the New Hope School Yard, where she was always respected, accepted, and protected.”