We started our day with “the Jaguars”, little Andy and Margoth Escamilla and Recovery Room Nurse from Levittown, New York, also named Margoth. She is always seen with a beaming smile and positive outlook. Andy was happy to receive the gift of the jaguar, a Pre-Colombia symbol of strength and power.

The earthquake produced significant tremors, yet all the patients remained calm and there were no injuries. The hospital only suffered minor damage when a 300 lb. oxygen tank fell over breaking a suction motor and other equipment in the recovery room. Volunteers pitched into to clean up and everyone was ready to work in no time.


When we got to the hospital this morning, we asked the staff how our patients and the hospital had fared during the two quakes. They said there was very strong shaking on our floor, but no one panicked, and there were no injuries or significant damage. Our biggest problem was with a 300-pound oxygen tank that fell over, breaking a suction motor and equipment in the Recovery Room. With a bit of clean-up, everyone was back to work in no time.


Cesar charmed us all. He is a dancer and actor and entertained us with an old Peruvian story. Twelve-year old Cesar has had 3 palate repairs and they have all failed, so he has been visiting Rotaplast’s dental clinic during our visit in Tacna. Dr. Rosario Mayro, Dr. Margot Escobedo and Dr. Kenny Liu have been working all week to build him an obturator to improve his speech. His family also received suggestions on how to get speech therapy now that the obturator will decrease nasal airflow that inhibits optimum speech.


Patience was truly exhibited by the family of Massie while waiting for her surgery. Massie’s operation to release a contracting scar on her finger was cancelled two times last week due to illness, according to Head Nurse Carolyn Walchak. Finally, on the third try, our last day of surgery, Massie had her surgery.

Massie and Carolyn


Lead Anesthesiologist Leigh Pederson, travelled the furthest to join our mission, meeting up with us in Tacna from New Zealand. This is Leigh’s third mission with Rotaplast, although she has been on several other missions with other organizations. Leigh said that she particularly enjoys working with the Walchaks, and looks forward to future Rotaplast missions with them.