Darwin at 9 months, after both surgeries
Darwin was born on June 26, 2014 in his village of Pamoca in the rural Guatemalan highlands. As is typical in this region of Guatemala, his birth was attended by a midwife, who immediately recognized his cleft lip and palate.
Darwin’s father, Fabian, and his mother, Maria, were very upset. Darwin’s oldest brother, Marvin, had also been born with cleft lip and palate. Then as now, they had very little money. Because Partner for Surgery did not yet exist to serve families like theirs, Marvin’s surgeries had not been completed until he was 13. As a baby, he had tremendous difficulty getting enough to eat. When the time came, he couldn’t speak normally. Additionally, to protect him from teasing, Fabian and Maria rarely let him leave the family home. Marvin’s life was difficult and lonely.
Darwin’s parents didn’t want Darwin to have to endure the difficulties Marvin had. But there was a glimmer of hope: in recent years they had heard about Partner for Surgery and hoped that Darwin could be helped while he was still young.
They learned of Gabriel, a Health Promoter who had helped others in their village. Gabriel visited their home, evaluated Darwin, and enrolled him in the Nutrition Program so he could receive robust nutrition and proper care in preparation for surgery.
After several months of nutrition supplements and monitoring by Gabriel, Darwin received his cleft lip surgery in October of 2014, and received his cleft palate surgery in January of 2014. Darwin will speak and eat normally, and will not be hidden away in the family home as his brother was.
Fabian and Maria see Partner for Surgery as a light that came into their lives, a blessing to their family. They are very grateful that Darwin will have a happy, healthy life.
Darwin shortly after birth
Darwin at 6 months, after his first surgery
Darwin has a great smile!