It may not be a record, but 228 people seen the first day is a big number when it brings with it at least one parent and often 2, and a couple siblings.  That was the task for the first day…to register, photograph and have seen by the medical team…surgeons, pediatricians, a dentist, anesthesiologists & nurses.  On the bus by 6am, the last bus of this team came home a bit after 9pm.  Why do we feel so fortunate, excited, exhausted and grateful?  Because we’ve heard stories like the woman who hoped we couldn’t do surgery on her 15 year old son to close a palate defect because he had tests at school but how if we said yes she would thank God because she couldn’t afford to have her son’s problem fixed in any other way.  Our hearts were touched when we saw Jesus, a 5 month old asleep in his Mom’s arms.  She had been up since 5am taken an hour bus ride to wait in line most of the day in the hopes that she could receive repair for her son’s problem.  Another reason we can feel grateful is because of our work here this week, hopefully sweet babies like the one ‘Joe’ Grasso holds will have a better life.

One can see the compassion and interest in the face of Bryon Stamm, MD as he talks with the mother of one of the patients.  The patient calmly looks on and waits as so many have done for most of the day.

Yes, we finally go to bed exhausted, many of us still at work on records or some form of planning for the next day until well after midnight but happy and most grateful for all the fund raising and support from all over the US and Barquisimeto, Venezuela that allows us to have this experience.