Bring Fatou Home
Organized by: Karen Kolavalli
EVENT DATE Aug 01, 2016
I started "Bring Fatou Home" six months ago. At that time, Kathryn and Hamidou had received encouraging news on Fatou's visa status. They returned to the U.S. briefly for Hamidou's work and to retrieve their other daughter. The entire family returned to Africa in April, 2016.
The U.S. Embassy serving Guinea is in Dakar, Senegal, so they traveled there (a harrowing trip by road!), thinking they would "probably be there a week." :-( If only!
Each visit to the Embassy elicits a new list of requirements. And each time they jump through those hoops, the Embassy gives them a new list. They have met all the requirements for Fatou's visa, so now they wait...and wait...and wait.
As you can imagine, having a week in Senegal turn into months is a severe stress to family finances. We met our previous fundraising goal, but now I am opening it up for donations again. They are SO close to bringing Fatou home!
Here's my original post;
- Kathryn and Hamidou traveled to Guinea from Kentucky two months ago after learning that his daughter Fatou had been abandoned by the family.
- Although Fatou is 17, she suffered brain damage from an infection as a 3-year old and is very child-like in her thinking and behavior. They found that Fatou's situation was even worse than they had imagined and are determined to bring her back to the U.S. where they can care for her.
- If you're looking for a way to pay it forward, you can help bring this young girl home where she can be cared for. After years of neglect and abuse as a mentally disabled child in a country where people think that means you're possessed by demons, she has a chance for a good life with her father and his wife in Kentucky.
- Kathryn explains further: "We didn't expect to bring her back with us this trip, since it usually takes almost a year to get the visa. But when we got here we found her in bad shape, not just from medical neglect, but also from abuse. We didn't plan to stay longer than two months."
- They have taken her to specialists for tests and a diagnosis of her disability. She had never been seen by a doctor before.
- Even in the short time they have had her with them in Guinea, she is showing marked improvement in her communication and life skills. She is learning that there will be enough food for her and that she doesn't have to steal food and hide it. She is learning to use the toilet instead of soiling her clothes.
- The photo shows Fatou in a dress they had made for her--her first dress ever. I asked about Fatou's reaction: "She was overjoyed. She wants to be beautiful."
- They were just notified that Fatou's visa application will be expedited on compassionate grounds, but even then the process is taking much longer than they had anticipated. Kathryn and Hamidou need help with living expenses so that they don't have to leave Fatou behind.