I saw a program recently called "Make Me a New Face." It's about a debilitating illness called 'noma' which has a mortality rate of 80-90%. The survivors end up with the most atrocious damage to their faces. Most victims are quite young when affected (3 to 8 years of age) and have to live with the stigma of being cursed or tainted and never being able to live a normal life. Many are ostracised by their own families.
I was in tears watching the program. I'd never heard of the illness before. It is often caused by malnutrition or lack of clean drinking water. While it has been wiped out in Europe for over a century, many third world countries are still plagued by this terrible illness. Around 140,000 people are affected by it each year.
Following is a link to Ben Fogle's website about the program that he presented. And here's an official website about 'noma' called "Facing Africa."
I encourage you to watch the program or check out these websites - even if you have a squeamish tummy like me. It will make you appreciate your own good health and the good food and drink that we have. It's a good reminder to be thankful for all of our blessings... and indeed we are so blessed when we see the plight of these poor children.
Here are a couple of links to other projects to help noma victims: Project Harar Ethiopia and Sokoto Noma Project.