Nine year old Courtney Sparrow was attacked and severely mauled by lions at her parents’ safari ranch in Zimbabwe when a lioness grabbed her arm and pulled her out through a neighbour’s window.  (Lions are allowed to roam the garden of the house to keep so-called “War Vets” away.)  These so-called “Vets” (most of them are too young to have even been born during the “war of independence”) keep attacking rural homes in Zimbabwe, and the few remaining residents have had to resort to various forms of self defence and protection. 

Fortunately, a brave gardener managed to beat the lioness off, and the little girl escaped.  She ran towards the gate to escape, but it was locked and Courtney was trapped inside the lions’ enclosure. 

The terrified child then ran back towards the house for safety, but another lion grabbed her and began mauling her again.  By this time, Courtney’s mother had been alerted.  She rushed across from their house and used a pole to beat the second lion off her little girl. 

Little Courtney survived, but suffered horrific injuries.  Her oesophagus has had to be rebuilt, and the front of her skull was bitten off, including her eye socket so that one eye was hanging out.  Miraculously, none of the many other wounds she suffered during the attacks damaged any internal organs, but she has had to have bone and skin grafts.  Her eye has been replaced in the re-built socket, but needs significant attention before she can (hopefully) use it again.  While the paediatric, plastic and neurosurgeons do their work, Courtney’s parents are caring for her mental health.  More “cosmetic” surgery will also be needed when she has recovered sufficiently from her life threatening injuries. 

Courtney’s parents ask for peoples’ prayers for her eventual recovery.  But with the Zimbabwean economy having been in meltdown for many years, Courtney’s parents’ income has dropped to the extent that they were unable to maintain health insurance.  No hospital in Zimbabwe could deal with Courtney’s injuries, and she had to be flown down to a specialist hospital in South Africa.  Costs are huge and continue to mount for the Sparrows.  A fund has been set up for Courtney at The Netcare Milpark Hospital to help pay the R500,000, and mounting, costs.  So if you feel like helping with donations as well as prayers, please send to the following:

Account Number: 1908466545  Branch Code: 190805;  Swift Code: NEDSZAJJ  Account Holder: MILPARK HOSPITAL  Bank: NEDBANK  Branch Name: FOX STREET (82 Simmonds Street, between Fox and Main Streets, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Author, Peter Davies was a soldier in Rhodesia from 1963 to 1975, where he took part in the capture and interrogation of terrorists.  His novel, Scatterlings of Africa, is based on his own experience during Rhodesia’s war on terror, and personal observations of how terrorist activities impacted Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and its people.

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