Originally uploaded by interplast
From Dr. Michelle Spring, Interplast Webster Fellow:
The people in Chongqing are amazing and fascinating, but I feel that
right now children are the most interesting part of China for me. The
overall experience is overwhelming. It is hard to describe the feeling
of seeing children and their parents, and then being able to fix
something that is so obviously devastatingly deforming.
I can't even figure out how it makes me feel. I don't know if I could do any single thing that is more rewarding emotionally. I feel honored to be involved in this work alongside such a great team―from America and China―that care about helping these beautiful people.
The need here is incredible ―there are so many children with clefts. It's a little disconcerting to be in Chongqing, a city of 31 million people and Beibei the suburb with 100,000 people and see so many children with congenital deformities.
Chongqing is bathed in fog every day; you cannot see the sky at all. Supposedly it is not smog, but I have my doubts. It is actually quite depressing for me--I need to have sunshine. The sheer volume of people is overwhelming. All of that being said, the people are very friendly and outgoing—especially the ones who travel days and hours from the rural parts of China to see us.
The China Population Welfare Foundation (CPWF) has treated us
royally and took us out for a "hot pot" dinner last week that is very
typical of Chongqing. Most of us did not try the duck intestines (or
as it was said, the "end of the duck's inside"). The very common
Sichuan peppercorn has a unique taste and is actually an anesthetic
—your whole mouth goes numb if you eat one.
We took care of a child who was orphaned as a baby and abandoned at a Buddhist temple. The monk who brought the child in gave each of us a jade Buddha necklace as a thank you. Everyone is very grateful for our help, which is nice.