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How many of us used to imagine that there is a monster hiding under the bed when we were children?

For a lot of Ethiopian children the monster is real and it is not hiding. It’s the hyena. These animals pick children as their victims because they are small, weak and vulnerable, and often careless.

There are no existing statistics on how many children are savaged by hyenas in Ethiopia, but Facing Africa is approached at least twice a year by the families of those who have survived horrific attacks by the animal with one of the most powerful jaws in the animal world.

After seeing how badly their little bodies and heads are damaged one cannot think of their survival being anything else but a miracle.  But even for those few who survive the real challenge is to stay alive in a country where one might need to travel 6 hours to the closest rural hospital to receive first aid and then 3 days journey to the capital with no real guarantee of lifesaving treatment.

In 2014 we treated Gemedi, in 2015 it was little Abel whose life was saved by the skills and dedication of our volunteer surgeons. This year we have Assanti, a 4 year old girl, who was attacked by a starving hyena in her family’s compound and saved by her mother.

Our outreach officer found Assanti in the Hiwot Fana hospital in Harar in a very poor condition. The girl was going to die from the severe facial injuries sustained during the attack. Her pictures and details were sent to our medical team and a quick decision was taken to bring her to the MCM hospital in Addis Ababa.

She is safe now at MCM with her father and mother, who left their tiny farm in Harar to be by her side. Her wounds are being cared for properly. There is still a long fight ahead of her and our surgeons will give their best to reconstruct her face and give her a chance of a new beginning in October 2016.

Assanti and her parents at MCM hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Assanti and her parents at MCM hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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