‘King’ Baba’s Journey to Hope in Senegal

SENEGAL — Meet Baba, a graduate of Mercy Ships Food for Life sustainable agriculture program in Senegal. Or “King Father” as it is more commonly known to other students.He got his nickname because the best-in-class 19-year-old peanut farmer uses his energy to raise others. Baba’s path was different from that of the other disciples. Before starting his training, he overcame major burns that limited the use of his arm. He was ready for a new future in sustainable agriculture only after a free surgery at Africa Mercy.

Medart AguegueFood for Life program manager:

“I see agriculture lagging behind. Many people do not see its importance. Everyone thinks agriculture is for the poor. But it is important to share our experiences to promote agriculture.”

Food for Life has trained more than 800 people in nine countries since 2007. The 22-week course helps community members become independent growers and distributors of healthy, nutritious products.

“People think this is the only field of medicine that Mercy Ships works in. Ships of Mercy also brings hope and healing through agriculture. My name is Medart Aguegue. I am the director of the Food for Life program. We are in Beersheba for a 22-week training. This training focuses on nutrition agriculture. because people need to be well fed.

“Before we can eat well, we must produce good foods that will give us health and prevent disease.”

Eliphaz EssahFood for Life Director:

“The Mercy Ships program also evaluates every year how we serve the communities we work with. This is why we train people who are young entrepreneurs. So this year we have one of the young patients treated by Mercy Ships in 2019. His name is King Daddy.


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“The Father is affectionately called King Baba.”

Jean-PierreDad’s Classmate:

“Wherever he goes, he is called King Father because he is like a king.”

tacticsDad’s Classmate:

“He is like a king and represents the Senegalese lion.”


“He is like a king. We see that he does not let his disability upset him and that he does everything to make everyone happy, even if there is class hope. Encourages classmates.


“At first there were people who called me the King, but it wasn’t that popular, but when I came to Beersheba, they called me the King. Because I used to make everyone comfortable and I didn’t want anyone to get angry.”

The father disfigured his right hand at a young age in a terrible accident in which his arm caught fire.


“When my parents took me to the hospital, they only treated the wounds on my hands. If you do not have the money, you cannot get the quality health service you want in Senegal hospitals. Also, there wasn’t a lot of medical supplies.”

In 2019 Baba came to Africa Mercy to have free reconstructive plastic surgery.

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Katie TannerVolunteer Nurse:

“When I met Dad, his hand was essentially folded back on his arm and his fingers seemed to slide down his hand and arm. He didn’t have any function with it. He could only use his right hand. So we just released his skin here and folded it back so it was flat and able to move again.”


“I couldn’t do much in the fields before, but when I got plastic surgery at Mercy Ships I can do a lot of things, like being able to attend this training in Beersheba.”


“He received a five-month training with the Mercy Ships Food for Life program. And today Baba successfully completed the training. Throughout this training we have seen a gentleman who is truly dedicated to his work and, as you know, motivated with skills and enthusiasm. You know, we see high motivation to be a part of this training.”


“I see agriculture lagging behind. Many people do not see its importance. But it is important to share our experience in promoting agriculture so that everyone can benefit from our training. That’s why I’m sending a message to all disabled people like me. Don’t be discouraged, stay motivated. Have the courage to take the initiative knowing that you are equal. You have to believe in yourself and say to yourself, ‘I’m going to the top.

About Mercy Ships

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Mercy Ships uses hospital ships to provide free, world-class healthcare, capacity building and sustainable development to those who have little access in the developing world. Founded in 1978 by Don and Deyon Stephens, Mercy Ships has worked in more than 55 developing countries, providing services valued at more than $1.7 billion and providing direct benefits to more than 2.8 million people. Our ships are managed by volunteers from more than 60 countries, with an average of more than 1,200 volunteers each year. Professionals, including surgeons, dentists, nurses, health educators, teachers, cooks, sailors, engineers and agronomists donate their time and skills. With 16 national offices and an African Bureau, Mercy Ships aims to transform individuals and serve one nation at a time. Click for more information www.mercyships.org.

CONTACT: Diane Rickard, Director of International Media Relations, Mercy Ships, [email protected]

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