Thursday, May 25, 2006

Kenyan boy was abandoned to dogs and nearly killed

Associated Press:

Daniel Wachira

From the right side, Daniel Wachira looks like any other bubbly 4-year-old, but Daniel was abandoned at birth and left on a trash heap in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was mauled by dogs and nearly killed.

The left side of his face is missing and he is in the United States for surgery to replace the missing jawbone, cheek and ear.

"Three minutes later, it would have been in the jugular," said Larry Jones, who with his wife, Frances, founded the Christian relief organization Feed the Children in 1979. The couple serve as Daniel's legal guardians. "He would have been gone."

The Joneses, of Oklahoma City, will head to Houston for 11 hours of surgery -- the first of several grueling operations Daniel will have over the next 10 years -- on June 1.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Sean Boutros and other doctors at Houston's Memorial Hermann Hospital are donating their services, estimated at $1 million in U.S. dollars.

Because of the shape of his mouth, Daniel has trouble forming words. But he is fluent in English and Swahili, and, sitting on the carpet in the Joneses' Midtown hotel, sang "Jesus Loves Me" in both languages.

His life so far is a Bible story -- part Moses among the bullrushes, part Daniel in the lion's den.

And, like the Biblical Adam, he will lose a rib. "They're going to take a rib out of his side and put it in his jaw so that his teeth will grow properly," Larry Jones said.

Doctors also plan to take some muscle from Daniel's shoulder to form a cheek. And in a few years, when his head is more nearly grown, they hope to make an ear out of another rib.

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