Our day of rest! Many went to Church before we left on a city tour of Cebu, including the Magellan Cross historical site near the old port. Five years ago Sharron Newton, our current head nurse, and I were on the same tour during the 2004 Rotaplast mission and encountered a family using a child with a severe cleft lip for sympathy as they begged.
(Sharron and I with the child and her family in 2004)
After much persuasion we convinced her parents to bring her for surgery, and the surgery was a success! Now, five years later, Sharron and I wondered how the child was. She would be six years old. Could we locate her?
Today, with emotions running high for our entire group, we found her! We talked with her family and observed the beautiful six-year-old girl. She was active, proud, and showed no embarrassment as she played and frolicked with the other children. She looked like the normal child she was. For our team…PAYBACK!! This is why we all work on Rotaplast missions.
(Sharron and I with the child and her family in 2009)
Also today we encountered another cleft lip child as we walked a few blocks from the hotel. He or she appeared to be homeless and was found in a vacant parking lot in a rough area of Cebu. We were unsuccessful in communicating with the child or finding the family. We will go back tomorrow with one of our local Rotarian hosts, try to find the family, and hopefully convince them to bring the child in for evaluation and possible surgery.
Written by; Tom Fox Mission director.