Up in the Air
On Monday, October 7th, 22 medical and non-medical Rotaplast volunteers boarded planes in San Francisco, Pittsburg, Denver, Seattle, Sacramento, and Spokane bound for Cebu City, Philippines. The team arrived in Cebu on Wednesday morning to a warm welcome from the local Rotary Club of Cebu Port Centre, whose members were central to making this medical mission happen.
The immediate goal of the mission is to provide surgical intervention for children with untreated cleft lips and palates. Rotaplast also counsels families on how to reduce the incidence cleft palate anomalies, educates local physicians and specialists to broaden their skills in treating cleft anomalies, and fosters international goodwill and fellowship by working with local Rotarians as well as with health officials in host countries. This mission is Rotaplast’s eleventh to Cebu City.
Cebu is a Province…and an Island…and a City
Cebu Province is comprised of 168 islands, the largest of which is Cebu Island. The capital of Cebu Island is Cebu City. Cebu Metro is the second largest in the Philippines with a population of 2.55 million. (Just call it Cebu for short.)
To quickly summarize 500 years of history, Cebu City was the first permanent Spanish settlement in the Philippines in 1565 and is the oldest city in the country. Today, Cebu City is considered the economic center of southern Philippines and is a hub for business process out-sourcing (BPO) such as IT, accounting, and customer service.
Rooms are Empty, Full of Hope
The Rotaplast team spent Wednesday afternoon at the hospital, getting oriented and arranging for the operating and recovery room setup the team would require in the coming days. Thursday is clinic day, where nurses, surgeons, pediatricians, and dentists will evaluate as many as one hundred potential patients for surgery.
By Friday, these rooms will be transformed into a place where the surgical teams repair so much more than cleft lips and palates – where children, teenagers, and even a few adults will leave with a chance at a better life.