It is the rainy season here in Liberia so we shouldn’t be surprised it rains – in fact, it rains a lot, in monsoon-like downpours. On the positive side the rain brings the temperature down but on the negative side, the rain floods roads making it difficult for patients to get to the hospital. Luckily we only have a short drive from the hotel to the hospital but as you can see it was a wet one! (And yes that is a car driving towards us on the wrong side of the road!)

Despite the weather, we still had people to check in and most of these people had come to the hospital because they had heard about the Rotaplast mission on the radio. Helping us check in were several members of the local Rotaract –  these young men have been a fantastic support to the mission helping out in so many ways. They have been invaluable when communicating with patients and parents as while English is spoken in Liberia it is heavily accented and it is sometimes a challenge to understand what is being said. Picture below of Franklin and his team checking people in for screening.

I wanted to share a couple of pre and post photos to show how the children are transformed. Below are pictures of Diamond and Elijah pre and post-op.

It is not just the smiles on the children the parents are also delighted that the surgery has been done and their precious baby now has a chance at a normal life. Picture of Diamond’s mother looking at her daughter post surgery – if you look closely you can see that Diamond’s mother also has had a cleft lip repair demonstrating the genetic cause of cleft palates, in addition to poor nutrition and environmental factors.

The surgical team also treat burn victims, especially those with contractures caused by burn scarring. This work is headed up by Jeff DeWeese, MD a specialist burns surgeon. The young girl below had an operation called a z-plasty on her elbow and ankle.

The missions are a team effort and I want to share in each of the blogs a highlight of each team member – the first three are below:

Signing off on another rainy day!