2017.06.12 Colombia Mission- Day 1

We left on the bus at 8:30am, which wasn’t too early. We did consultations for the entire day. Our schedule was: consultation in a clinic on Monday, and surgeries in the hospital from Tuesday to Friday. There were A LOT of kids waiting in the clinic. Most of them were kids with cleft lips or palate. The 4 doctors and their assistants were assigned to four different rooms. I met Mario and Wendy. Mario’s mother is a member of the Rotary Club, and Wendy is his cousin. They were also there as volunteers. Andres assigned us to sort out the toys and clothes for the kids. They brought tons of stuff for the kids. TONS. It took us three probably about an hour to lay everything out on the tables by size and type. I felt almost like a salesperson hahahaha laying all the products out for the customers to pick. I never knew how the kids got the stuff because I left before the kids got to go in and pick the toys.

I was assigned to Dr. Daria and Alberto’s room. Alberto is Daria’s surgical assistant. They have been working together in Virginia for months. I could already tell that they work well together because I could see the similarties between them. A funny thing they have in common is that they both murmur a lot hahaha it took me a little effort to understand both of them. The kids came in one after another. Daria determined whether they needed surgeries or not. Some of them were back just for checking in. Some of them needed to see an ortho or a language therapist rather than to have surgeries. Daria explained that usually the kids would have their lips fixed soon after their birth, palate at about 1 yr old, and nose at 18 yrs old. Some need more or less than three, depending on their situation. Ahh I remember a kid called Fabian. He was probably the most severe one I saw that day. Not to mention cleft lip and palate, his nose was collapsed, eyes not focused, arms and legs deformed… I almost cried when I first saw him. How unfair the world is. I was even more surprised after I looked at his profile. He was alrady 9 years old, but he was as tiny as a 4 or 5-yr-old boy.

I also met Beatriz. She has microtia, just like me. I tried to talk to her, to explain my situation to her, and to comfort her. I showed her my reconstructed left ear. She was very quiet and didn’t react much when I talked to her. I wanted to go deeper because she was the first one with microtia that I met, but she needed to leave. Then there was a girl called Ana Sofia, also with microtia. She was soooo sweet. I could barely tell that she had microtia with her hair down. She asked Marcy (Andres’ assistant) for me and wanted to meet me. We chatted a lot more than I did with Beatriz, and we exchanged contact information!!!!

In the afternoon, Ahalia and I went to the hospital where we would be doing the surgeries. We went there to put down the surgical equipments. By the time we return to the clinic, it was already dark.