Estrella and Ismael were waiting for us when we arrived at the hospital this morning at 6:30, cradling 16 month old Carlos. They read in the newspaper that Rotaplast might be able to repair Carlos’ cleft lip and palate, but they didn’t make it for the opening clinic.
Estrella left their farm in Buena Vista Friday for an 8-hour round trip bus ride to the hospital to ask the guard at the gate if there was chance that Carlos could still be seen. She was told to come back the next morning.
Estrella and Ismael scrape by, growing potatoes and onions, keeping some and selling the rest. They didn’t want to take a chance on missing us Saturday morning, so they sold their television to pay for a ride, leaving their house at 4:00 a.m.
Carlos got his medical exam first thing, but he will have to come back next week for the surgery. The Venezuelan volunteers will help them in the meantime with clothes, food and medicine.
Jerry Meshulam, Photojournalist