Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meet Baby Luis

Baby Luis and his Parents
For the Love of a Child
The team arrived at the hospital sometime after 9:00 AM on the 10th. The first thing to do was hold a "press conference" the local Rotarians really wanted to publicize this cleft palate/lip clinic, to get the word out to as many people as possible, so that we could take care of as many people as possible in the short amount of time that we have.  TV PERU in HD was there to interview our Mission Director Tom Fox and the hospital administrators.  They also spoke with the parents of one of the prospective patients - Luis.  I wasn't sure what my reaction would be when I actually saw one of these babies with the cleft palate, I had never seen it before (other than on those TV commercials with Sally Struthers) and prayed that I would not "freak out".  But how could I, just like any baby, he was cute, cuddly and had the sweetest eyes.  Meeting Luis made me understand even more why we are here and why what we are doing is important.  As I learned in a fascinating class today provided by one of our surgeons "Ron"; having a cleft lip/palate holds a huge stigma for the person with it.  They can be shunned by family and strangers, some are literally and figuratively "kept in a closet".  I can't imagine that baby boy being hidden away from the public eye for something that he has no control over.  I also learned that in folklore it was believed that the cause of the cleft palate/lip was thought to be caused by a pregnant woman being struck by lightening or being near lightening.  Another thought is that if a pregnant woman walked past a rabbit  her baby would come out with a "Hare-lip" and now you know where that phrase comes from.  We also learned that the cleft lip develops in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy and most likely comes from hygiene issues, or some toxic insult to the mothers system in those first few weeks.  After the interviews were done, the hospital administrators thanked us for being there and kind of sort of made a "toast" to our arrival.  I thought it was going to be this great ceremony, a couple of young women entered the room with cups of a clear sparkling liquid.  Champagne?  No.  Sprite.  We all stood there with our cups of Sprite waiting for someone to propose a toast.  It never came.  We through back our cups of Sprite and headed out the door.  (Insert awkward moment music here)
Our morning was marred by the theft of one of our team members backpack.  When we arrived at the hospital we stood around waiting for the hospital administrators and the TV crew, while we waited we took pictures of the sprawling hospital grounds.  James put his backpack down right behind him to take a picture, in the time that it took him to shoot a couple of photos and then turn around the backpack was gone.  Thank goodness there was nothing really valuable in the backpack, it was a valuable lesson to everyone of us.  James was a  real trooper about the whole situation.  Later in the day he and I took off into Lima so that he could buy a new backpack.
That's right about where the backpack was taken
There was lots of advertising for the clinic

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