I have attended 2 Mending Faces missions and each time I am overwhelmed by the poverty of the people and how I feel about being a part of changing children’s lives. The children are small for their age, for obvious reasons, and require less medication than European children but bear the surgery stoically with very few complications.
When I see the children for screening the parents are happy with expectations but even more so when they are cleared for surgery. Anything we do is accepted with thanks from the family who are often, so gratefully, give us small gifts which, of course, we accept graciously.
The operation and the time spent in recovery are tense moments but when all is done and the child returned to the ward and their family there is obvious joy. The overnight care is provided by Philippine nursing staff. I perform a ward round before I leave the hospital and this the families find reassuring. The following morning ward nurses clean them for discharge and there is more joy for the family. Being part of process is a most satisfying thing and justifies all my training and time spent in Medicine.
The team is largely from the Western States of America with a few other nations represented (mainly Britain). We work all day, and at the end of the day we enjoy a quiet meal and a few pints followed by a lot of talk and laughter. The well known relationship between the “people across the pond” does truly exist. We British are learning the English language again and with a few subtle alterations manage to make ourselves understood. So much so that the Yanks are learning new words such as theatre instead of OR, recovery room not PACU, nappy not diaper and their own history since few of them knew that BOSTON, the original, is in England and a few of its inhabitants helped found the United States of America