I first noticed Halnu Marma and Unumo on our first day of Clinic. They had a different look than most of our other patients and wondered about their story. I didn’t get a chance to speak to Halnu until today, our last day of surgery.
Since most women here are the mothers or grandmothers of the children awaiting surgery I just assumed Halnu was the mother of Unomo. But through our translators I learned that Halnu is a preschool teacher in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and not the mother of Unomo. Halnu brought Unomo to our mission at Nurture hospital, for the parents, since she was the only one amongst her ‘Marma people’, who are Buddhists, who could speak Bengali.
The Chittagong Hill Tracts are about a 5 hour local bus ride away from the hospital and populated by many different indigenous peoples. It is a beautiful place but can also disrupt into trouble amongst the various groups.
Halnu was inspired to become a teacher since her father was a teacher; that is how she learned Bengali. Her father was killed by terrorists because one of the members of another indigenous group had a quarrel with him and killed him. She also lost her brother and mother.
Halnu feels she that in her short 22 years of life that she has been unlucky and lucky. She now feels lucky to have had this meaningful experience with Rotaplast.
Halnu said that our team should go to her village and that her ‘Marma people’ would throw a party for us.
Nilardi and Mohammed have been the patients that have spent the longest time with us. They are here to have a complicated procedure to revise their cleft lip.
They have had the “Abbe Flap” procedure which provides more fullness to the upper lip. The procedure is somewhat complicated and requires the patient to have their lips partially sewn shut for 7-10 days. Once healing has taken place, another small procedure is scheduled to separate the lips. Dr. Rod Simonds and Dr. Soma Avva, respectively handled these cases.
What a remarkable difference this surgery has made in the appearance of this little girl and teenage boy.
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.”
– Dalai Lama