This is Sunday and our only day off during this mission.  However, the surgeons still had rounds to make at the hospital to check on patients that were admitted for the night.  There were four of them.

Samuel- Photos: Dr. Rod Simonds giving him a fist bump greeting; Dr. Simonds removing tongue stitch; very happy mom and Samuel (They are looking forward to speech therapy to give him a voice people understand.)

Genesis- Photos: Dr. Simonds examining palate repair; happy and ready to go home

Ihan- Photos: Dr. Todd Farnworth removing tongue stitch; happy baby giving a fist bump; wanting another fist bump; ready to go home

Yessin- Photo: Dr. Todd giving exam and giving aftercare instructions; ready to go home (swelling will go down)

Our amazing surgeons are supported by our equally amazing OR nurses; Victoria Slama, RN; Margoth Nuñez, RN; and Evelyn Snyder, RN (will be interviewed for later blog)

Margoth Nuñez is from El Salvador.  She moved to New York about 20 years ago where she worked as a registered nurse until retiring 4 years ago.  While still working, she saw an ad in a trade magazine about Rotaplast.  She was very interested in joining a mission and called the number in the ad.  After completing the application and providing the required references, Margoth was shocked to find she was invited to go on her first Rotaplast mission.  It was to Bolivia.  She says that she felt different when she came back, very grateful for everything she had.  Photo: Margoth and Evelyn at the airport

This is Margoth’s 9th Rotaplast mission.  She says that she would not have been able to go on this mission if it wasn’t for her husband.  Today is her first-year wedding anniversary.  She and her husband were planning on going to Cancun to celebrate when she got the call asking her to go on this mission.  Her husband encouraged her to go, even helping her with the Visa application.  What about their trip to Cancun?  They went on it 4 weeks ago and celebrated early.  She is the proud mom of 3 adult children and 3 grandchildren.  It is obvious to anyone who talks to her, she has a love of kids and a service heart.  Photo: Pre-op with Jhoan

Victoria Slama is also a registered nurse living outside of Phoenix, AZ.  Though she is 74 years old, she has the energy three 20-year-olds combined.  She also has the humor of the best stand-up comedians, keeping everyone around her laughing.  She has been an OR nurse for over 50 years and loves it.  Victoria loves her job so much that when she retired from the Mayo Clinic in 2011, she got another job as an OR nurse.  She has been working at Banner Dell Webb ever since.  At the Mayo Clinic she was given the award of Humanitarian of the Year.  At Banner Dell Webb, she was also given an award for her contribution to society.  Contributing factors to these awards are Victoria’s over 50 missions for Rotaplast and another organization doing medical missions.

Victoria says that Rotaplast means so much to her.  Having a rough early life, she understands what these families are going through.  She started working at age 14 to help support her family and worked her way through nursing school.  Victoria gives generously to Rotaplast saying she is giving back to what has changed her life with every mission on which she has gone.  In fact, Rotaplast has two Autoclaves (used to sterilized equipment), with a plaque on each stating, “Generously donated by Victoria Slama for the children of the world.”  She lives her motto, “Be a giver.  Don’t be a taker.” Victoria says that she has worked with so many angels in this organization.  I think we can all agree that she is one of these angels.

Tomorrow, we are back to surgeries and changing lives.