Bilal and Jalila arrived at a hospital in Dakhla, Morocco with hope in their hearts that Operation Smile could help their 10-month-old son, Mosslim. What they saw in that hospital brought them both relief and sadness – more than 100 other children like their son, children who were born with a cleft condition, all seeking a chance at surgery.
Through a translator, Jalila said she was happy to see her son was not the only one with a cleft lip, but it saddened her to think so many other families faced the same problems she and her family face.
Looking around the hospital, Bilal and Jalila knew all these other mothers and fathers were just like them in many ways. These parents traveled long distances with little means in an effort to help their children in the best way they know how.
Bilal, Jalila and Mosslim took a bus for 37 hours from their home in Tangier all the way to Dakhla to seek help from Operation Smile – something Jalila has had on her mind since Mosslim was just 7 days old.
One week after Mosslim was born, a doctor told Bilal and Jalila about Operation Smile. The family took a bus from Tangier to Casablanca to consult with a surgeon at the Operation Smile offices in Morocco. The surgeon examined Mosslim and assured the family their son would be able to receive surgery when Mosslim was a bit older.
Months went by and Bilal and Jalila were vigilant about making sure Mosslim was gaining healthy weight. They feed him like the doctors taught them, to make sure Mosslim would be a candidate for surgery when the time came.
Operation Smile Morocco contacted the family and let them know about this medical mission in Dakhla. “We were so happy that it was time,” Jalila said, though she was still nervous during the medical assessment process that determines which patients are candidates for surgery.
Once Mosslim was cleared for surgery, Jalila was overcome with emotion. She cried tears of happiness combined with nervousness as her cheerful son, Mosslim, was carried back into the operating room.