I want to end with the story of Jefferson, an incredibly cute 6-month old baby with a cleft lip and palate. Here is a photo of him from clinic day last week, dressed in the cutest denim overalls! We noticed that the parents often dressed their children in what may be their best outfits because the visit to the hospital is such an important day in their children’s lives. Everyone on the team found this little guy so adorable; we all pulled out their cameras to take pictures of him.
The surgery to repair his cleft lip was successful, and we hope to see this delightful little boy next year for palate surgery.
As we prepare to return to the United States, I can’t help but reflect on what an incredible two weeks it has been. This Interplast team has performed free surgeries to heal the bodies and change the lives of over 70 patients here in Cusco, Peru. It has been an amazing journey for all of us. We will all share many wonderful memories of the charming town of Cusco and our kind hosts in the Hospital Regional. Most of all, though, we treasure meeting the adorable children of Interplast, and their loving families and caretakers.
On behalf of the entire team, I want to express our profound gratitude to Ronald McDonald House Charities (“RMHC”), the generous sponsor of this life-changing trip to Cusco, Peru. Without their support – and the product donations of so many other companies – this trip could not have happened. From RMHC’s contributions to fully fund this trip (and several others this year), to the Ronald McDonald coloring books provided for the children in the waiting room, to the McDonald’s stickers that the children treasured as gifts on their way to the operating room, this entire trip has been an example of RMHC’s dedication to helping children around the world.
Finally, I personally feel so honored to have worked with such a dedicated group of professionals. I am so impressed by my fellow team members’ commitment, and the fact that each of them took two weeks out of their busy lives to give back to the world. I invite you to visit the Interplast website (www.interplast.org), and sign up for our mailing list to learn more about how you can help too.
This is Carla before her surgery, a very cute three-month old with a cleft lip and palate. She received surgery yesterday for her cleft lip, and will hopefully be seen by Interplast for her palate in the future.
The parents warmly invited all of us to Carla’s baptism ceremony this evening at the famous cathedral on the Plaza de Armas, the central square in Cusco. Depending on how today’s surgery schedule goes, some of us may try to attend. Even if we can’t go in person, we’re all sending our warmest wishes to Carla and her family for a bright future!
I’m Maureen Cox, one of the operating room nurses on this trip. I am so excited to be a part of this Interplast team to Cusco. Even though there is such variety in the ages of our team members, we are all bonding so well and have really come to appreciate one another.
I’ve been so impressed by the love and concern of the fathers of our patients. They often travel alone for long distances to seek out Interplast’s help. It is so heartwarming how carefully they entrust their children to us. At first, I was surprised to see what we are used to labeling as “maternal” love coming from the fathers – they show such open affection for their children. I remember a patient from last week, Andres, who received surgery for his cleft lip. His father was so sweet in the recovery room, carefully stroking Andres’s face with tears in his eyes. In this picture, Andres' father and Julito the Dragon try to cheer him up.
We had a lot of visitors today – some of the patients returned to the hospital for check-ups. I wanted to show you this photo of Joel, who you met last week . The surgery to release Joel’s burn contractures was successful. Here is a photo of him with his father. Joel can now lift up his head and raise his arm from the shoulder. He is such a pleasant boy – before he left, he shook all of our hands and said, “Muchas gracias!” to each one of us…
Today we saw the cutest little boy from El Hogar Santa Teresa (St. Theresa’s Orphanage). You might remember that we told you about the children from the orphanage who came to see us on clinic day. Juan Adrian’s parents came from the region of Paucartambo, about three hours from Cusco. Jacquelyn, the orphanage coordinator, told me that they call this place “The Balcony of the World” because of its high altitude and spectacular views.
Juan Adrian received surgery for his cleft lip from Interplast last
year – I recognized him on clinic day from photos I had seen at the
office. Jacquelyn told me that he loves to eat, but sometimes it is
hard to feed him because food and drink come out of his nose through
the opening in the roof of his mouth. He was very chubby despite his
difficulties eating, making him quite an adorable baby!
It was so touching to see the way that Jacquelyn and another caretaker from the orphanage cared for Juan Adrian with so much love and affection. I had a chance to visit Juan Adrian on the wards later in the day. He was so calm and sweet - as usual - despite the fact that he had been through surgery only hours before.
I am Michael Flynn, and I am one of the anesthesiologists on this trip. Today, I was the anesthesiologist on a very touching case to treat a young boy named Joel. He is an adorable 7-year old boy with major burns on his neck and arm causing contractures that prevented him from looking up or raising his left arm.