September 15, 2010
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September 15, 2010
While Operation Smile prepares four operating rooms for 180 surgeries, we go to the Catholic church where some of the patients and their families are being looked after.
About 20 families share the hall which has bedding of woven mattresses and patterned Malagasy sheets. It’s a happy atmosphere, made merry by the arrival of the journalists who are a nice distraction for the children and parents who are contemplating the surgery. I made contact with Vaviosa and Raissa again, both of whom will be operated on in the next few days.
Vaviosa and her father walked a whole day to get to the road, and then travelled another day in a taxi to get here.
Her father says she is treated very well at school and never faces much ridicule, but she does have 6 brothers to protect her!
She is also, clearly, a beauty and when one is fortunate enough to encounter people like Vaviosa, one realizes how much one’s character and is captured in the eyes.
It’s the first time I have seen Raissa awake, and she is a flirt.
I am wrapped around her finger and it is mostly because of that incredible smile. There is also something wonderful about her naivety. Because of her age she is probably unable to recognize her deformity. And it’s hard for people who meet her to recognize it because she is just so cute. You could say her smile suits her. Then one only has to contemplate how she might look when she is older.
|Raissa was born with a facial deformity that gives her a unique smile. Operation Smile medical volunteers will operate on her to give her an even brighter smile.
Raissa’s sister takes much of the pressure off her mother of looking after Raissa, but when they are together, the close knit trio seem to be the center of the room. Everyone gets along, as people do when they are thrown together and, outsider sentiment aside; there is little sense of an individual journey for the people here.
I’ll be in scrubs tomorrow, and the next few days with Vaviosa and Raissa as their new smiles come into being.
In speaking to the many doctors and specialists here, many of whom are on a mission for the eighth or ninth time, I realize this is no practice session for them and it is certainly no working holiday.
I am starting to understand, as I meet some of these children and their families, that it is the shared journey that keeps them coming back.
- Anton Crone, Operation Smile Supporter
Read more on Anton's blog >>
Tags: From the Field