Operation Smile spreads smiles through Chiriqui, Panama in April 2010!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 6

I can't believe that Wednesday is already over. We didn't end up going to the hospital today, which I was originally sad about, but we actually have more to do at the shelter. I think today I was the most tired I've been, but still I had a blast. The shelter has really started to empty out, but we also receive the patients that have already had surgery because they need to wait in the shelter for a while in order for the doctors to be able to check up on them.

The children really do love to see us arrive everyday. Today we arrived especially early and everyone was still eating breakfast and getting ready for the day. As we got out of the bus, Brenda was prancing around in her towel looking clean as a duck. She saw us and smiled really quickly, but then marched inside, toothbrush in hand, pigtails bouncing, clearly on a mission. It was one of the most adorable things I have ever seen. And now Pam and I are sitting here in the hotel room talking about how we don't have any way to really give it justice. When she was all dressed and ready to play, I gave her a giant pink pipe-cleaner. She didn't know what to do with it at first, but then I waved it around and made her try to catch it and she was thrilled. She headed off to the hospital today to get her palate fixed. I can't wait to see her tomorrow!

Another good part of my day was forming a really good relationship with Arnando, a tiny little pistol. He is about two years old, a little whiny, but mostly ADORABLE. He loves being photographed, and would just sit on my lap and let me take pictures of him. He also loved sticking stickers all over his arms and then peeling them off one by one and yelping a little bit each time. He followed me around all day and wanted to be a part of everything. Everyday these women bring what I think is called "dudo", which is frozen fruit juice with sugar in plastic cups. They stand outside and sell them for 25 cents each. They are so refreshing. I bought Arnando one and after it started to melt, he tipped it all the way back to get the juice and spilled it all over himself.

Ricardo went off to surgery today too. I wasn't sure if we was excited or not, but it turns out I really think he was. He ran up to me and said "I'm going now!" and I said "That's great! How exciting!" and he gave me a big hug. I really want to go see him at the hospital tomorrow.

Many families have started to leave for home. Most of them have had surgery, but there are some that have to be sent home without. It's usually because of medical issues discovered later, but it's really sad to see them have to leave and not be "fixed". It's really sad to see everyone leave though, because even though it's only been a few days, I have gotten to know a lot of them really well.

Jose David Cabo went home today and I was especially sad to see him go. He was very uncomfortable for a lot of the day because of his palate, and also a little out of it because of medications. I gave him the tiny t-shirt that I bought him. You can tell just how much his dad loves him by the way he looks at him and takes care of him. I love thinking about what he's going to be when he's grown up since I know he know has many more opportunities than if he didn't have his surgery.

Presentations have been going well and the kids got into the dental one a lot and all wanted to try brushing the giant teeth. We have given away a lot of toothbrushes and my suitcase is almost empty!

There is this one dad who especially takes care of his daughter. She's an older girl, so the surgery was most likely very tough on her because the older you get, the more painful the surgery is. Her father just sits with her all day nourishing her with juice out of a dropper. They barely talk, but you can tell how much he loves her.

Tomorrow is the 2nd to last day of surgery.

1 comment:

  1. Hey Julia


    You are taking seeing these children so well...I don't know if I would be able to handle some of the things I'm sure you've seen. I still can't get over the fact that you are actually in Panama helping out with such an amazing cause. Everyone at home is so proud of you...which I'm sure you already know <3

    I love you so much and I hope you have some amazing couple more days.

    p.s. Kayla and Casey say they love you too and that they are so proud of you :)