(CNN) — She has eyelashes but no eyebrows. She has all her fingers but is missing four nails. Her skin is so taut now that she can no longer frown.
But she can still smile.
Her face tells a story of suffering. Her name, Shakira, tells a story of a new journey.
Shakira means thankful.
Last week, 4-year-old Shakira arrived in the United States for what her caretaker, Hashmat Effendi, hopes will be the start of the rest of her life.
Shakira, believed burned in a U.S. drone strike in Pakistan, will undergo reconstructive surgery in January.
She will never look fully normal, but Effendi hopes the surgery will make it easier for Shakira to grow older. And help others see what Effendi has seen all along: an effervescent bundle of love.
In 2009, Effendi was on a medical mission with Texas-based House of Charity in Pakistan’s Swat Valley. The region’s natural beauty was once compared to Switzerland’s, but by then it was a Taliban-infested area rife with violence.