We all woke up early excited to start our first day of clinics! We quickly ate breakfast and started setting up the various stations in the hospital at 7am. Within seconds, we were swarmed by a sea of people all hoping to be selected for surgery. We had to call the guards over to help us back the crowd up so we could have enough room to set up the clinic. An hour later we were ready to see our first patient.
One by one the patients and their families trickled through the clinic. Each patient first had to register and have their picture taken for identification purposes. Once registered the patients were given a number and seen by one of the team doctors. After their consultation and lab work the team of doctors made the final decision and selected the patients chosen for surgery.
Around noon, we were interrupted by loud drums and cheering. The Swamiji had arrived to bless the clinic and the new CT Scan. The Swamiji walked through the clinic blessing the babies and the children. Then we followed the Swamiji to a ceremony in our honor. Hundreds of people gathered to watch as each member of our team was draped in a traditional Indian shawl and lei, and presented with a gift of dried fruit.
We didn’t have much time to spend celebrating because we still had over fifty patients to see. So our team raced back to the clinic. The patient’s ages ranged from a few months to 65 years old. Most of the patients were being seen for cleft lip and/or cleft palate, however we did have a fair amount of burn victims. At the end of a long day we had seen 98 patients and 14 were scheduled for surgery the next. The team called it a day, some went to bed without dinner and some went into town. Either way we all went to sleep thinking about the day ahead of us and the first round of surgeries.