Tejan Margay – An Update


Tejan Margay came to our Children’s Home in Marjay Town, Sierra Leone in the fall of 2003. As a young child, before coming to Children of the Nations, Tejan fell from a mango tree, which resulted in a broken leg and a broken jaw bone. Due to the lack of proper medical facilities in the area he lived in, Tejan’s leg never properly healed and his jaw became fused to his skull. Because he could not open his mouth to eat, over time he became extremely malnourished.

After arriving at our children’s home, our caregivers did what they could to improve Tejan’s quality of life, but his problems were beyond what the available medical facilities could handle. A small operation was done to repair his jaw, but this has turned out to be only a temporary fix. As Tejan has grown, he has learned to get around on his leg very well. He was able to play soccer and keep up with his brothers in the home. However, because of the fall, the growth plates in his right leg were crushed causing his right leg to be significantly shorter than his left leg. As Tejan continues to grow, his leg will become more and more painful and eventually will be crippling to him.

During Chris Clark’s visit to Sierra Leone in November 2006, he became aware of how serious Tejan’s condition was. From then on arrangements were made for Tejan to come to the United States for an operation on his leg. Through the help and support of a doctor in Montana, Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Spokane, Washington agreed to operate on Tejan’s leg. The Lord also provided a wonderful family, the Goins, to host Tejan during his months of recuperation in Spokane.

Last month, on September 12, 2007 Tejan underwent surgery. Because the surgeons were unable to reconstruct the broken bones, they put pins in both legs to stop the growth so that the difference between the lengths of his legs will not increase. It was a successful, yet painful surgery and Tejan is slowly getting around with the use of a little walker.

During Tejan’s stay at Shiner’s Hospital, doctors learned that Tejan’s jaw bone had indeed fused to his skull; he is completely unable to open his mouth past a certain point. A local doctor has agreed to do surgery on his jaw, which will entail two separate surgeries at least three months apart. They will actually be able to reconstruct a jaw bone using one of Tejan’s rib bones, and because he is so young, the hope is that this “new” bone will continue to grow as Tejan grows.

In the meantime, Tejan is having a wonderful time in Spokane, playing with his host brothers and sister, enjoying all the American luxuries of TV, Gameboy, etc., and even going to school! Please pray for the continued healing of Tejan’s leg, his adjustments to life in this country, his host family—the Goins, and the details of his upcoming jaw surgery. Watch for more details on Tejan’s recovery.