Rotaplast missions aim to give reconstructive surgeries to children with cleft lips and/or palates. Every once in a while families come to the clinic in hopes of obtaining help for non-cleft lip and/or palate health complications. More than half way thorough the mission, Marco Antonio, a 7-year-old boy with a cleft lip and palate, David Julian Garcia, his 12-month-old baby brother, and mother accompanied him to the hospital in hope of obtaining an operation. Marco's mother had two children with her husband before the births of Marco Antonio and David Julian Garcia. Marco was born with a very prominent cleft lip and palate. A year later David was born with dimpling on his lower back, unable to move his legs. Their father could not take the upset and shame of having two children with helath complications and left the mother to raise all 4 children on her own. The mother said that in order to find out how to go about fixing David's back she needed 900 quetzales (about $125 USD) for a MRI. Their mother only makes 300 quetzales ($40 USD) a month and cannot afford the medical expenses for David.
Since the family arrived so late in the mission we were not able to fit Marco Antonio onto the schedule for surgery. We asked why they arrived so late in the week and the mother said she was unable to find someone to watch her older children and she needed to work in order to keep them all from going hungry. We were able to arrange dental care for the family in Guatemala City, as well as take a look at David. The skilled Rotaplast doctors examined David and hypothesized that he has spinabifida. The entire team of volunteers went above and beyond and pitched in $180 USD to give to Marco and David’s mother, in order to pay for the MRI, as well as transportation to the hospital, and food for the family while they are away.
This volunteer team has been absolutely amazing. They have not only contributed their time and hard work but they have stretched their pockets to provide for the truly destitute families of Guatemala. Even though we weren’t able to provide surgery for Marco, we were still able to provide service for the family. This mission has been especially touching due to the steadfast and selfless determination of our team of volunteers.