The day the team has been waiting for, the first surgical day. We arrive at the hospital early to ensure both operating rooms are set up and medical supplies are properly stored for easy access. Following a team meeting at the start of the day, surgeries begin.

Today, the surgeons along with their operation room team become transformers. They transform the lives of these patients by improving their quality of life, one surgery at a time.

Here we have 4 year old Htoo who had a primary cleft lip repair.  There are many reasons why this surgery is important for the future of young children like Htoo.  Children with clefts may face social, emotional and behavioral problems due to differences in appearance and the stress of intensive medical care.   Pictured with him post surgery is Donna Cloutier, the photojournalist for this mission.  It’s her second Rotaplast mission.


Pictured below is 5 months old Thaw Zin Zin  with his mother.  Cleft lip and palate are the result of tissues of the face not joining properly during development.  For babies with clefts, they usually have a difficult time getting the proper nutrition into their growing bodies.  Pictured on the right is one day after surgery.  In a few years time,  because she had the surgery at such a young age, the scar will be barely visible

The mother’s face is paint with thanaka,  a yellowish-white cosmetic paste made from ground bark. It is a distinctive feature of the culture of Myanmar.  It is similar to the Bindi worn by the India women.

And these missions would not exist without the expertise of the medical staff.  Below are a few of the nurses of the mission.  Rashpail Basi (left) and Jan Epstein (right) are two of the operating room nurses.  You will see more of them in the upcoming days on the mission.

So the team celebrates the end of a busy first day.  Wrinkles have been ironed out after performing ten surgeries.  Thirteen are scheduled for tomorrow, so it’s time for the team to get some well deserved rest and prepare for the second surgical day.