I am so proud of our team that has come to Pereira, Colombia to change the lives of as many individuals as possible, knowing that we are also changing their entire families. So far we have operated on over 60 patients. We expect to complete surgeries on about 100 patients by the time we leave. Some of them have had more than one procedure while in the operating room. For example we have done both a cleft lip and a cleft palate repair on some of our children. The youngest has been 4 months and the oldest so far is 62 years. Our priority has been young children with clefts. As time and equipment/supplies allow we have also repaired eye lids, ears, nose and hand deformities, and today our surgeons will reconstruct a deformed jaw.
We are not the only organization to send cleft surgery teams to developing countries. What makes our missions unique is the partnership we have with local Rotary clubs throughout the world. Local Rotarians make arrangements and fund our meals, lodging, hospital breaks, transportation, and so much more. The local hospital must issue an invitation for us to work in their hospital. They have been very helpful and have made us feel welcome. As team participants we have an opportunity to really get acquainted with the people at our destinations in a deep and meaningful way. We come away with a great appreciation of the people, customs, and day to day life of both our hosts and others with which we come in contact, and we hope that we provide others a glimpse into our lives and culture. Our lives are enriched and changed forever. We are truly blessed.