From Ashifa Kassam, volunteer nurse from Los Angeles (September 14): Yesterday, I recovered a 6-year-old boy who had a cleft palate repair. When he was awakeFning from anesthesia, I asked him if he´d like to have his mother be with him. He would not answer, he lay in the gurney, not asking for anything. Quiet. With tears running down his cheeks. The children here have a great tolerance for pain. They also suffer in silence, it seems. I hugged him and consoled him. He was receptive. We called the family member in who was the boy’s aunt. She explained to me that the young boy´s mother had passed away in a boat while she was attempting to come to the United States for better opportunities. The patient has three other siblings. They all live with this aunty who has four children of her own. The woman is 29 years old and is the sole supporter for the eight children. She makes hats and also receives financial assistance from the government for the children´s school supplies and some food. When I asked her what was the best part about having all those children in her home, she stated, simply, "everything.” Then she offered, "The saddest part is when they get sick.” If it weren´t for Interplast, there would be much sadness for this woman. Seeing her nephew after the surgery made her very happy. I was humbled by this woman´s courage. She gave permission for me to share this story. The young boy is doing great after surgery and has been discharged from the hospital.
"Usually we think that brave people have no fear. The truth is that they are intimate with fear. " --Pema Chodron