Francisco had been blind for 20 years. He could not tend the crops in the family's fields, so he spent most of his time in the house. Whenever he ventured out of the house where he lived with his son, he was guided by his 6 year old grandson.
One day there was a festival in his village and everyone in his house had gone to be a part of it. He heard the music and the laughter and decided to go, but his grandson had already left. So, he set out to find it alone. He could not see and staggered about, finally falling into a tree and lying on the ground, weeping. Finally a neighbor found him and led him home.
A short while later, Partner for Surgery came to the clinic in Francisco’s village with a small surgical team to do cataract surgery. Francisco’s family had heard about the visiting team and his grandson led him to the clinic. He was told that he had a condition known as cataracts and asked if he would like to have an operation to have his sight restored right then and there. He said yes, that he would like to be able to once again tend his cardamom.
He had a surgery that took all of fifteen minutes and the next day, when the bandages came off and Francisco could see, everyone - including the doctors, the Partner for Surgery staff, and Francisco - cried. After twenty years of blindness – he could see. Such a simple procedure but one that was not available to Francisco until Partner for Surgery came to his village.
This is what we do. Bring joy back into lives of those who have lived with unnecessary hardship for so long. Thank you for supporting our work!
Dear Kind Supporters,
Here's a report from the field, from one of our wonderful volunteer medical teams, Otter Tail Missions:
We brought a team of 21 to Guatemala City, over 60% of whom were new to this mission. Many were taking their first trip abroad - members hailed from Des Moines, Los Angeles, Seattle and as far away as Denmark. The team all met for the first time in Guatemala.
The need for general surgery in Guatemala is great. When we were coming, we told them we could handle about 100 patients. When we got there, about 160 patients were waiting for us.
We evaluated over 140 patients and felt that 129 required surgery. That was 30% more than we had budgeted for, but the team all agreed to make every effort to help as many as possible. By the end of a grueling week of 11-12 hour days, we had performed 147 procedures on 129 patients, including laparoscopic gallbladder surgeries and a large number of hernias.
One of the patients we treated had suffered for 7 years from a mismanaged hernia. I wish you could receive all the gratitude that he showed us. Many people had been unable to work because of hernias and had no hope of getting the surgery without our help. Most patients travel an hour or more by foot and then as much as 12 hours by bus to come to us. After surgery, they stay a couple days in a shelter before heading back by the same route.
We were stretched this year to meet the needs before us, and the team rose to the occasion.
We could not have done this without the support of our donors, both Global Giving and elsewhere. The people of Guatemala thank you, and we thank you, for your wonderful support.
Partner for Surgery's Infant Nutrition Program for infants born with a cleft lip and palate has been in place for just over five years. Because our program locates infants at birth or very soon thereafter, mothers receive lactation coaching, breast pumps and nutritional guidance while they can still produce milk. For mothers unable to nurse, commercial formula is provided. The story below of Leonel is a wonderful example of a life that was saved in the early days of the program, and an example of how this child can now be of help to the family and live a normal life.
Leonel was born in 2009 with cleft lip and palate to Roselia and Baten, both first time parents at age 17. They were confused and scared and did not know what to do about their son’s condition. All they knew was that they had no money to pay for treatment. Fortunately, the midwife who attended Leonel’s birth knew about Partner for Surgery through the local Health Center. A health promoter was assigned to Leonel and his family to support their journey, beginning with enrollment in the nutrition program.
Leonel did so well in the nutrition program that he was healthy enough to undergo surgery to repair his cleft lip at 5 months. At 18 months, he was ready for cleft palate surgery.
And look at him today at age 5! Thanks to early intervention by Partner for Surgery, he is healthy, strong and quite handsome! He takes great pride in working with his grandfather in the fields, so he can help feed the family.
Leonel’s mother Roselia is very grateful to Partner for Surgery for saving her son’s life and helping her when she so desperately needed it. “Thank you for your help!”