As the photojournalist for the mission, I have the opportunity to roam as I please throughout the hospital, taking photos of the children and parents in the pre-op room, the PACU where our team takes care of the children following surgery, the recovery ward and surgeries. Today I decided the latter — watch Dr. Dennis Dundas perform a bilateral cleft lip repair on 14-month-old Juan Daniel.

I put on my scrubs, shoe covers, hair cover and mask and went into operating room number 3.  Dr. Dundas was gracious and explained what I would be seeing for the next 90 minutes. Sharron Newton, the OR nurse, asked if I could handle watching the procedure without fainting and I assured her I could.

Soon, a crying Juan Daniel was carried into the operating room and Dr. Gustavo Lozado, the anesthesiologist,  went to work to get the patient ready for surgery.  For the next hour and a half, I stood and watched Dr. Dundas do the most amazing thing: he transformed a boy's face – and his life – forever.

Once the surgery was complete, he was awakened and Sharron brought the boy out to head to the PACU. On the way, she stopped long enough for his mom to take a look and make sure her boy was OK. As she saw her son, she began to cry tears of happiness. This happens countless times a day, but it is no less rewarding and wonderful for those of us working here at Hospital Galindo as part of Rotaplast.   It brought a smile to MY face to know I had been a very small part of Juan Daniel's journey.