DSC_9057Happy Birthday, "Peluza!" Anderson is celebrating his second birthday today at Hospital San Jorge. Some kids are just too cute for words but with his bowl-shaped haircut his parents have an affectionate nickname for him, Peluza, translated as dust bunny. Shortly after Peluza was born, his parents noticed that he didn't have a complete palate. The immediate result for a child born with a cleft palate is difficulty nursing. They cannot develop the pressure needed for sucking and liquid will flow from their mouth out through their nose.

Peluza had his first surgery a year ago but it was not successful. Patients must be healthy on surgery day and he came in this morning with congestion. Fortunately, there will be time to reschedule him for a later day in the mission once he clears up. Unfortunately though, it's a two-hour bus ride each way to the hospital for Peluza and his parents. We are looking forward to seeing him again.


DSC_9064Jose is back for his second operation from Rotaplast. With our maxillofacial specialists on this mission, he will have bone taken from his hip and grafted to his jaw to created a more  natural look. Jose was fortunate to have had surgery at an early age to repair his cleft lip and palate. However, a complete closure of his palate was not achieved, leaving him with very nasal speech. An all too common story for children with clefts is suffering the bullying from their school-age peers. Jose could only stand it until the 8th grade. He works now as the supervisor for a delivery service.

Jose was accompanied by his mother and he told me his is looking forward to having better speech and a nicer smile. Rotaplast is good at saving smiles and changing lives.

DSC_9077Monica was born with a deficiency of soft tissue in her nose, making it difficult to breathe. She has had two previous surgeries at 15 and 17 years old where cartilage was taken from her ear to reshape her nose. Now, at 22, she is scheduled for another surgery with Rotaplast for further improvement. Monica also talked of being laughed at in school. With help from Rotaplast, she is looking forward to a boost in self-confidence and "to be prettier."

Jerry Meshulam, Photojournalist