Maria (R) spent the night waiting for surgery for her congentially malformed ear. She met Agueda (L) when we moved her from a stuffy, isolated room where she had been recuperating from a skin graft, for 5 days. As soon as we moved Agueda, Maria was sitting on Agueda’s bed making friends. The next thing we knew they were working together creating beautiful story books with their Mrs. Grossman’s stickers.


Percy, who had a surgery similar to Agueda, a skin graft to revise a burn scar on his neck to help increase his mobility, used stickers to write a story about an evil magician.

Aracely and Mike

When Mike Farnworth, our youngest team member, accompanied 7-year old Aracely to the pre-op waiting area, she was nervous and teary. It got worse: the anesthesiologist said it was time for her operation, a complex pharyngeal flap, to start. Aracely began crying and clinging to Mike. Mike carried her into the O.R. and stayed with her, hunched over the operating table, as the anesthesia took effect. This 22-year old pre-med student’s calming words were invaluable.

Araceley and Mama

Mike has become our “hacelotodo” (“he does it all”), serving as patient transport aide, circulating nurse, scrub nurse, and translator. His Spanish is great after a two-year mission in Mexico. Mike (whose father Todd is a plastic surgeon on our mission) says his experience here in Tacna has solidified his resolve to become a doctor, either in cardiology or reconstructive surgery. He definitely wants to serve on future Rotoplast missions.