November 15, 2013
Olivia Linderoth , U-Voice student
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In a small farming village in northern Rwanda lives a family of four – the youngest is 4-month-old Challone.
Challone was born with a cleft lip. His mother and father didn’t know why their child was born this way and their older son was not. The family suspected it was a genetic condition, since Challone’s mother has a cousin with an untreated cleft lip.
The family rents a small house, which they share with three other families. Throughout their village, people are afraid of Challone – they think glancing at the baby will bring them bad fortune.
Challone’s mother is anxious awaiting her son’s surgery in Rwanda. They traveled for several hours to get a chance to fix Challone’s cleft lip and give the baby a chance at a normal life.
Overcome with emotion after the surgery, Challone’s mother can’t wait to take her son home and show him off to their village, to show the others that he is not bad luck, that he is a normal beautiful baby boy.
“I just want him to be happy,” Challone’s mother says. “And now he can show with his smile that he is happy.”
Just a day after the surgery, Challone is donning a great smile and a laugh that will make anyone’s heart melt.
His family is forever thankful to the dedicated volunteers of Operation Smile, changing Challone’s life forever, giving him a fresh start. This boy is ready to show the world his new contagious smile.
Tags: Our Blog, Student Stories, From the Field, Patient Stories, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Rwanda