I could only imagine what my experience in Barquisimeto would be like, being a first time member of a Rotaplast team. The only person I talked to before my trip was a physician I work with at my hospital back home, who has been on many missions himself.

He is the one who encouraged me to apply to Rotaplast, saying it would be an experience of a lifetime and that I would be signing up for another mission as soon as I returned home. I know already that he was right! Our hours are long but the day zooms by. The staff and the local volunteers are such a cohesive, hard working and genuine group.

All of our patients, from the children to the young adults and their families, are so appreciative. The surgeries we have been doing are producing wonderful results. My Spanish is even improving. I now know how to say chocala cinco, high-five, the little kids laugh and give me five.

We are just about at the halfway point here in Barquisimeto. The local volunteers and medical staff have been great, making us feel like we’re at home, in their home. Our Rotaplast volunteer and medical staff have been working hard as well, helping all the babies and families.

The hard work and time away from our own families and loved ones really pays off at the end of the trip. That’s when we see all the patients we’ve worked so hard to help. Thank you to all my family and friends back home who have been, and currently are, helping and supporting me while I’m gone. God bless,

David Sparks, OR Nurse