Dick. It has taken me a day to reflect on if I should write this mail since it has no reference to the upcoming teams that will enter Honduras in March/April of this year. But alas I have decided to talk about my day yesterday at Hospital San Felipe.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Message From Frank / Operation Smile
For those that do not remember, this is where the club foot brigade last year treated little Santos from MDLF(Montana de la Flor). He is going great. I was there during that first day again this year. Only one girl remains in the hospital similar to Santos. She needs a skin graft. Amazingly she and her family are from a little village close to Sulaco, called San Antonia. Talking with the mother yesterday she knows Sister Fatima and asked about her. I told her what I knew. I have been in the village with Fatima many years ago and remember visiting the Biblioteca. She, the mother, remembers a big gringo with long hair being there. Her daughter is 13 years old, but also has a spine problem called Scoliosis. Maybe one day she will come to the US according to my friend Sandy that was with me. It was a nice visit. Sandy then gave the mother $$ for more food.
Yesterday was the start of Operation Smile at Hospital San Felipe. I was there last year during all our time visiting Santos. I got there by taxi, with a trusted taxi driver, about 0800 hrs. There were so many families there from all over Honduras. I have worked with a brigade in Guatemala doing the same work but not as large as Operation Smile.
I spent about an hour sitting among the families and kids that had not yet been called into the registration and consultation area. Many looked at me and I was wondering what did they see? Who knows.
My friend Sandy finally showed up and we walked through the registration area and the areas the kids were being evaluated. Wow! Operation Smile has a great program and great patient flow programs. I have no idea how many kids were there yesterday but many, many. Maybe 200-300 hundred. Yesterday and today are the days they screen patients. Saturday is a day for blood work as I'm told by my friend. Sunday is a day off, and then on Monday the surgery begins.
Dick. I know most Americans have never been around kids with clip lip/pallet. It so sad and so debilitating for so many of these kids, but yet, they seemed happy and very playful.
I remember one little kid, a boy, about 3 months old. I do not know his name. The Smile volunteer was an Audiologist from Honduras. She was feeding this little kid a bottle of milk. Boy was he hungry. The mother was from a far away place in the mountains and said she was not able to breast feed. I have been there before. This little kid was so little and so under-nourished. I hope he can get surgery. The young mother, estimated to be around 15 or 16 had no idea how to take care of this little kid. Thankfully, she and other mothers will get counseling about these issues.
I did not have a camera, and am today wondering if I would have taken photos even if I did. Most of these families and kids are from far away from Tegucigalpa. Surgery will go on for about 2 weeks of so.
Wow! A great day, but very sad. I know the results will improve the lives of all these kids and their families. I had just ‘a moment of time’ with some.
Posted by Gehlen Mission Honduras at 4:31 PM