“Make Dreams Real” is the theme this year of Rotary International President D.K. Lee. His goal is to reduce infant mortality and improve the lives of children. The partnership of Rotary and Rotaplast clearly does “Make Dreams Real”. Passion, dedication, commitment are more than words in Chengde. You see the words become reality in the enthusiasm and dedication of the volunteers. They desire to change the life of each child. The rewards are great for the volunteers. Each smile from a child is the reward the volunteers receive and the only reward they want.
After a much needed one day respite where the team members took in some of the incredible sites and history of the Chengde region we were back at the hospital by 7:00 AM. The first task is for our two pediatricians, Dr. Collin Yong, from the Rotary Club of Vancouver Chinatown and Dr. Steven Finkleman from Kelowna, B.C. They visit the ward where the children have stayed overnight. One of the challenges has been to enforce the no food and restricted liquid diet. The families staying with the children on several occasions have fed the children during the night. This means a forced delay of the operation, often to the next day. Collin and Steven examining each child scheduled for surgery. They were examined on the screening day and this is the final check on their health before their surgery. By 8:00 AM the first children are escorted down to the pre-op room.
Non medical volunteer Peter Wu of the Rotary Club of Vancouver Chinatown sits with the children and families until they are wheeled into the operating room. Peter’s fluency in Mandarin is indispensible in this area. The children are thrust into strange surroundings and are afraid.
Today 15 operations were completed, four were the more complex palates and six had dental work in addition to the main operation.