Luka Alhaji Yaro was born with a hideous bilateral cleft-lip deformity which resulted in the
superstitious community calling him “Yaki”, literally translated to mean “war”. This, the
villagers claimed, was because he was a wounded warrior whose deformity
was an injury sustained when he fought a war as a spirit in another life.
Born into a poor peasant family, 11-year-old Yaki was the fourth of seven children and the only one in his entire community with a cleft lip. According to his father, Yaki’s deformity was so disturbing that he contemplated killing him, considering Yaki’s condition a bad omen. It took the intervention of the village elders who pleaded for Yaki’s life, reassuring the father that he was not a spirit from another world but rather a gift from God.
Yakiwas then taken to the local health center to see if anything could be done about his deformity, but he was turned back because the health center did not have the facilities to carry out corrective surgery. With nowhere else to turn, Yaki’s parents left him to his fate until a local missionary visited their community.
When this missionary saw Yaki’s cleft lip, he assured him that God would do something about it. The missionary contacted Operation Blessing (Nigeria). Though Yaki’s parents were worried that the surgery might do him more harm than good, they were eventually convinced when the missionary showed them a copy of the CBN Africa newsletter, “Frontlines,” which had the picture of a child whose cleft lip had been repaired by Operation Blessing.
Today, to the glory of God, Yaki has been completely transformed by the successful corrective surgery that was carried out on his cleft lip! Neither Yaki nor his father could hide their joy at the miracle. “I thank God for Operation Blessing. Though we have nothing to give you, we pray that God will reward you abundantly. Thank you, OB,”said Yaki’sfather, on his behalf.
Yaki on the other hand, could only smile in relief that he now looked like any other ordinary 11-year-old boy. He would no longer have to bear the painful taunts of his peers and elders in the community.
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