Hospital de la Ninez Oaxaquena, the Oaxaca Children's Hospital, located in a rural area some twenty miles south of town, will be our place of work during the course of the mission. The hospital is a relatively modern, attractive one story compound, with very bright colors demarcating the four buildings that make up the hospital. The administration building is painted canary yellow, while the main hospital is a vibrant turquoise. Pink indicates the housing for families, and bright red ensures that no one will have difficulty finding the emergency room. Like many Latin American hospitals, there is a growth of cottage industries just outside the hospital gates. Families and hospital staff alike are a stone's throw from food vendors, other merchants and taxis.
Dr. Octavio Manuel Corres Castillo, The Director of the hospital, led an orientation this morning to help our team of volunteers become familiar with the buildings and hospital staff that we will be working with. The facility is spotless; the equipment is well-maintained and ageless. We then unpacked our equipment and supplies and prepared for tomorrow's busy day of patient evaluations. Many of our little patients were already on site waiting for us to check them in.
Some children, such as this handsome little boy, have already received lip reconstructive surgery, but now need a second procedure to close a cleft palate. Others, such as this darling little girl, will have a primary lip repair (first operation on an operated upper lip) or a second surgery to improve the results of a past cleft lip repair.
Our Rotarian hosts told us a bit more about the Oaxaca Valley. We learned that despite its fertile beauty, some of the poorest families in Mexico can be found here. Our hosts will not only be taking care of the members of our team, but have also arranged lodging and meals for our patients' families for one day before and after their child's surgery. Not all hosts are able to arrange this extra care for the families, and threfore, on some Rotaplast missions, our patients and their families may spend the night prior to surgery on the floor of the hospital grounds.
We are quickly learning that no day will be complete without an evening of festive music and delicious Oaxacan food provided by our generous hosts. After dinner, our Mission Director, Kathy Wiley, and Assistant Mission Director, Rose Marie Joyce, thanked Club President Maria Antonieta Chagoya Mendez and her husband for the delicious meal on behalf of the team. After our day of set-up, and our evening of fellowship we are fired up and ready to meet our patients tomorrow.