It’s been several days since our team of 27 medical and non-medical professionals returned to our homes. In total, 77 people received free surgery due to the generosity of all those involved in Rotaplast.
Seven year old Marycielo is the youngest of 5 children whose mother died not long ago. She is deaf and is being raised by her father, whose wish it is for Marycielo to hear. While Rotaplast can not correct Marycielo's hearing, we were able to repair her cleft palate. And for that, her father was grateful
I first met Andre in January 2012 during a Rotaplast mission. During that mission, Andre's lip was fixed. This year he received palatoplasty surgery, which closed the opening between his nose and his mouth. This will help Andre to develop normal speech as he learns to talk, and aid in swallowing and breathing.
Brayan was also here last year and again during our mission this year. Several days after surgery, Brayan's lip looks brand new.
Angela and her mother share a smile as they say goodbye during closing clinic. I met Angela last year when her lip was repaired and here she is an adorable healthy child of almost 2 years old.
Gregoria's only son is a firefighter in Lima. He saw an add for Rotaplast and encouraged his mother, 64 to meet Rotaplast and see about repairing her pronounced cleft lip. She had lived with the shame associated with her facial deformity her entire life. Gregoria lives in a small town in the Sierra, a considerable distance from Lima. She said that people know her there and simply stay away from her. When she would visit her son, she always wore a scarf wrapped around her face. She told me that if she ate in a restaurant, she would be placed at a separate table in the back of the restaurant so as not to upset the other diners. Today, Gregoria stands proudly with her son telling us she has given up her scarf.
For all the happy families and children we leave behind, next year there will be more. More babies will be born with facial abnormalities; those that we could not operate on this year will be back; those that need a second or third or fouth surgery will be back. In Lima, Peru, Rotaplast means hope; a chance for a child, not only to smile, but to learn to speak; to eat; to grow; to develop as any normal child.
There will always be that next child waiting for surgery; waiting for her chance to speak to the world; to give back to her community. And with the generosity that surrounds Rotaplast, we will be there to help.