Medical volunteers are a special breed. Rotaplast volunteers vary in size, gender, profession, years of experience in their field, and number of medical missions with Rotaplast and other organizations. Often the operating room has both seasoned veterans and “newbies” like myself. Immersing yourself in this new environment can be an extraordinary learning experience. Many of our physicians and nurses have already become invaluable resources and mentors for me and Marina (Sterilizer). Marina and I met on day one in San Francisco, and soon realized we have similar professional goals- to become physicians. We also discovered that we have the same MCAT date, which is the entrance exam for medical school.

Today we both had the opportunity to scrub into surgery to observe our surgeons. Pictured below is Marina on the right observing Dr. Chatson, one of our plastic surgeons.

Sometimes the mothers of our patients need a break to shower or step outside. Randy the mission director has been our main baby snuggler, but today I stole his role for the morning.

Elsie, a brave 10 year old girl awaits surgery with her mother. She will be getting a few repairs done today to both her palate and upper lip.

Sandy, one of our OR nurses spins Elsie around and they dance their way to the operating room.

One last glamour shot before surgery.

Here Elsie is recovering two days post surgery, she is doing great and looks like a rock star!

Below are some of our kiddos for the day after enduring their various surgeries, such amazing children. I think I can speak for all of Rotaplast here on this trip, that we have fallen in love with each of these little angels.

Above, Elvira is swaddled in a quilt made by our Rotary Club in Wells, Maine! Thank you to the lovely volunteers who have worked hard to craft these for the children. They are truly works of art.

Tonight as we left the hospital we were greeted by darkness in the streets. The peaceful glow of street lamps showering us as we drove back to our hotel.