This is my first Rotaplast mission and as translator, I am available to the doctors and nurses to relay important information to parents before, during and after surgery.

On our first day, I staffed the initial registration table during Pre-Clinic. The registration table was set up outside in the hospital's courtyard and a tent was erected for relief from the relentless tropical heat and humidity. While I registered patients, I had the opportunity to hear some of the remarkable journeys families had taken to reach Hospital Galindo. Most had traveled more than four hours to arrive at the site while some up to 16 hours by bus. One family walked three hours by foot just to arrive to a bus stop.

It was late during pre-clinic day and while working registration, I spotted a disoriented woman and her teen-age son walking in from the main gate. I greeted her and wrote down all her basic information so her son, Osvaldo, could be evaluated by the pediatricians and surgeons. I translated to our Medical Director Dennis Dundas that Osvaldo, 15, had been bullied at school and he had a hard time socializing with classmates because of his fear of being isolated.

Mom said that they live in a remote village and wasn't aware that cleft lip/palate surgeries existed until she got word from her local priest. As Osvaldo was doing his first communion, the priest told her there would be a foreign medical team in Retalhuleu. They caught the first bus that left with only the clothes on their back — and hope.

This morning I spotted Osvaldo's mother and she asked me in Spanish if the hospital would be supplying meals because she had not eaten and did not have money to buy a meal. I referred her to our Mission Coordinator Joanne Wessles, who was distributing meal tickets for parents that had children checked into the hospital. She was beyond grateful.

Later, I inquired with Osvaldo’s mother as to how he was doing following his surgery. She responded that he was doing well. She said the first thing he asked for when he woke up was a mirror to see his new face and smile.   – Jesus Lara, Translator, Rotary Club of Pico Rivera

Jesus and Osvaldo