We have been here for just over 1 week for the 9th time. This team continues to astound. They come here giving up their time with their loved ones, their lively hoods and precious vacation time so they can share something to with those who have so little. These people, this team. Doctors and nurses who desire to do the best quality work and give the highest quality care they can give, to those who could never afford it. A lawyer, a CPA, a high tech executive, a real estate agent, a university
administrator, a pre school teacher and many college students, all of whom want nothing more than to see a child smile or speak without fear of ridicule or cruelty. They overwhelm me. They teach, they learn, they laugh and they cry. They give not only of their professional expertise, but of their hearts in ways that can not be measured.
To my team members, whether or not you are in the medical care arena, you must realize the impact you are having on the lives we touch here. There are children leaving us tomorrow who can now look people in the eye without fear of seeing the reaction. There are children leaving us tomorrow who can speak with a clarity of sound and pronunciation that they have never had before. There are medical residents leaving us tomorrow with a clinical experience not found elsewhere along their educational path. They will continue to learn and place this experience in their hearts. Giving them an example of
what it means to give back to their home country and people.
We are forever entwined in one another’s hearts. You do not leave here without having been touched by your fellow volunteers and more intently by these children and their parents. The come 6, 7, 10 hours for the chance to be seen by a doctor who can repair what fate has dealt them. Their beloved child who was born with a hole in a part of them. Was it something they did? Why did this happen to them? What can I do to repair this? How will their child every make a normal life for themselves? These are all questions we hear every day.
Faces of Hope is multi faceted. Surgery of course, but also speech therapy, public health education, dental treatment, love and care for patient, parent and siblings. It is all the parts of the whole that make us a family rather than just a team. We strive to be an example for both teaching and learning.
We thank all our team members, past present and future for all the love, ideas, encouragement and support you give by being part of our extended family. We look forward to many more years of learning and expanding.
As the week comes to an end we must realize that perhaps we are agents for change. We have worked hard this week and we continue to develop ideas and plan for how we can improve and include more. It is a surgical mission at its core, but so much more in whole. We will return with more love, stronger partnerships and a renewed desire to develop the local capacity to do this work in a sustainable manner long after we are gone.
With all our hearts and hopes for a peaceful and healthy future.