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Mission Report





Kenya



Nyeri, 22 september - 01 october, 2011

Baby James, 1 year old, traveled over 12 hours to get to Nyeri. He was able to receive cleft lip surgery and his mom was thrilled with the results.

October 1, 2011

The team departed this morning and it was a very bittersweet farewell for all. This has been by far the most cohesive volunteer team I have ever worked with. The bonding was strong from the start, both internationally and locally, and friendships grew from there.

The experience of and cohesiveness amongst the team made for a phenomenally smooth medical mission. Our final statistics were: screened 183 patients and 105 received surgery.

- Erin Kennedy, Manager Africa Region, Operation Smile


September 27, 2011 It has been said that the eyes are a window into the soul. If that’s the case, then most of the windows here at screening today show scenes of indescribable sadness, fear, and uncertainty.

A life lived with a cleft is a challenging road indeed, one which I have never experienced personally, but which is revealed in pieces and snippets through the stories our patients divulge. The stories disclosed give awareness to even larger untold tales, those too painful to share, the ones which are best forgotten.

Tales of being bullied, being excluded, being forgotten, treated horrifically for a condition beyond one’s control. Superstitions about clefts abound worldwide, and cruelty fueled by fear supersedes acceptance and kindness.

It is our hope that we can do a small part to bring a light, a life, back into these eyes, joy where there was once nothing but despair.

- Brooke Gordon, Outcomes Data Fellow, Operation Smile


September 26, 2011

One of the most emotionally powerful moments on a medical mission, which I seldom have an opportunity to catch, is when the patients are reunited with their mother, father, family, and friends. Reactions range the gamut from joy and excitement to shock and confusion, so drastic is the change.

Today I was fortunate enough to witness Mrs. Oneri receive her son, Promise Akiru, after his surgery, and my eyes filled with tears of joy as I watched the reunion.

- Brooke Gordon, Outcomes Data Fellow, Operation Smile




© Operation Smile Inc. – Photos by Rohini Das



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