A ZIMBABWEAN youth is recovering from the first of three life changing surgeries at a San Diego hospital in the United States.
Sharp Hospital in Linda Vista said Saturday's 15 hour surgery to repair 20-year-old Blessing Makwera's jaw started in the morning and was wrapped up just after 9 p.m.
Part of Makwera's jaw, teeth and tongue were blown away by an explosion in 2008.
Dr. Joel Berger, who heads the team of surgeons who said: "To provide him with a functional smile, and the ability to chew, masticate and interact with his friends and family."
Speaking ahead of the operation last week, Makwera said: "I believe in a few days, a few months or a few years from now (people) will be like, oh that's Blessing without that questioning eyeing. They'll just look at you without any confusion or questions to ask," he said.
In 2008, Blessing picked up an object with a couple of wires sticking out of it. Curious as to what it was, he put it in his mouth and then used his hands to touch the wires to his cell phone battery. It turns out the device was a mine detonator. It exploded, leaving him disfigured.
The first operation involved taking bone from Blessing's leg and reconfiguring it to replace the part of his jaw that's missing.
"We expect that there will be at least two other procedures to end the final reconstructive process," Berger said.
When it's all over, probably in about eight months from now, Blessing said he wants to help others like himself.
"Five years, 10years from now, I wish I could do the same for the other guys, or for anyone," he said.
The group Operation for Hope Worldwide got Blessing to San Diego. Sharp, along with their doctors, are donating everything that he needs.
The series of operations are expected to cost more than $1 million.