Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Ethiopian girl thanks Canada for facial reconstruction surgery

(August 06, 2012, The Star)--Don’t ask Yeabsra Hailmarim questions now, please; she is busy with a computer game and onscreen baby Krissy needs a bottle. The 7-year-old Ethiopian child ended her stay in Canada at a computer camp — a few weeks of normal life, away from the attention that comes with being the girl who had all that surgery on her face.

Ethiopian girl Yeabsra Hailmarim
She turns away from the computer at MPS Etobicoke, a private school, and describes in accent-free English what is good about Canada. School, especially computers; dolls, especially Barbies; and friends, Emma S. and Rebecca to be precise.

There’s also the new way she faces the world. Yeabsra and her mom, Aynalem Adugna, were in Toronto for 12 of the last 18 months while Yeabsra had four operations to repair a severe facial disfigurement. They returned to Addis Ababa at the end of July.

In the most recent operation Dr. Christopher Forrest built a nose from a piece of rib and fashioned nostrils.
“Of all the operations, this was the one I was most worried about,” says Forrest, chief of plastic surgery at the Hospital for Sick Children, who led the team repairing Yeabsra’s facial cleft. She left with her new face and lofty ambitions.

“I have a great vision for her,” Adugna says in Amharic, through a translator. “She might be president of our country.” Adugna had seen that children were treating Yeabsra differently as they grew older. A bright child, she had been at the top of her class, but her grades began to slip. Read more from The Star »

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