This morning we had a candle light breakfast. Sounds romantic right? Not exactly, the electric power went off at 5:15am. Good that we have battery operated alarms or we would all still be sleeping. Well, probably not, Rosalie would have been knocking on all or our doors. Rosalie is not only our Mission Director, but better known as our 2nd La Jefa. Of course you know that Evelyn Abad is #1 La Jefa, mother of Rotaplast.
It was a very long day yesterday, some of us back to our quarters at 7pm, but a late scheduled and very complicated surgery kept some of the team at the hospital until 10:30pm.
Little Valerto Aqusto is a 9 year old boy who came with a cleft palate and a lower lip distortion. After two hours in surgery Valerto now has a closed palate and a reconstructed lower lip. We always ask how they got here, bus, walk, not many have a car, so that question is never asked. In this case the grandmother, Valerto, and a family friend from the same village walked here to Retalhuleu. The family friend speaks both Spanish and one of the 22 Mayan languages, which is how we were able to communicate with them. In the picture below you can see how similar the women are dressed, this indicates that they are from the same village. We asked the grandmother through two interpretors where the mother and father of this little boy are, the answer was a little shocking. The father left soon after the baby was born and the mother left before the baby was 1 year old. Here again you see another beautiful blanket from the people of the Saratoga Rotary, which all the children get to take home.
Little Juan Siana is 11 months old boy, he had a cleft lip until our fabulous surgical team repaired it. This is another interesting story I am going to tell. Juan has 2 sisters and one brother, and of course he is the baby of the family. His mother and grandparents brought him here from an (almost) village about 2 1/2 hours from here. Why almost? Because they are one of 107 families who have come together to purchase this plot of land near San Lorenz. They want to build their own pueblo (village) so they can give their children a better life. Someone in their pueblo brought them here in the back of a pickup truck. The friend could not stay, so these 4 people have no way to get home but to walk. They have no money, nothing. You can see from the pictures, that these people are really poor. To add to the problems they have, Little Jaun's father, the father of 4 children took off about 6 months ago and now Juan, his mother and his 3 siblings live with the grandparents. No, I am not done with the story yet. A couple of months ago one of Juan's uncles was shot to death by a jealous neighbor. Now the grandparents have taken in his wife and two children. We ask the grandfather how they heard about us. His Answer, " God told him in a dream that these doctors are coming to fix his grandson's face". He asked a friend to take him to this place, Retalhuleu. Even though I don't understand spanish, I can tell you that you would know in your heart that he truly believes that God sent him here. They are so greatful for all that Rotaplast has done for them. You will notice on one of the pictures below that Juan has a red mark on his neck, this is a yeast infection that will not go away on its own. I don't know if Dr. Al is going to like me telling you this but I'm going to tell you anyway. Dr. Al went to the pharmacy and purchased the yeast medication himself and gave it to the family. The grandmother was so appreciative she went up to Dr. Al and gave him a big hug. See the pictures below.
Let me introduce you to Elvis Hernadez, a little two and a half year old boy with a cleft palate. Elvis is one of 4 children and the 2nd youngest. He came here with his parents and it took them over 9 hours hitchhiking in 3 different vehicles. Two years ago, little Elvis was operated on by the last Rotaplast mission that came to Guatemala City. His mother said that the cleft lip repair allowed him to eat more and get the nutrition a young boy needs. Now he is beginning to talk and having his cleft lip repaired will allow him to learn how to talk correctly. His mom said "This will change his life forever, he can go to school and learn without being teased by the other children". She thanked us for all the great work we do and "will always be grateful to Rotaplast for their generosity and love for their son."
The Rotaplast team here in Guatemala has completed another great day with the completion of 17 surgeries.
I want you to see the following before and after photos so you can appreciate the miracles these surgical teams perform:
Patient #10 before surgery:
Patient #10 before surgery. This child, like many others had a cleft lip and a cleft palate. This shows the cleft palate:
Patient #11 before surgery:
You will notice this child's mouth is extended in to the left side of her cheek.
Patient #11 after surgery. Here you can see how the surgical team repaired her mouth.