On Sept 1, 8 intrepid Rotarians from District 7430 and 1 from a District in CA (John Kaufman), along with 16 volunteer doctors and nurses landed in Guatemala City for a 13 day Rotaplast Mission which was fully funded by YOU, District 7430!
Our team was comprised of 4 veterans who had been on missions before including: Alicia Ruiz-Orbin, our translator, who was always in high demand, although we also enjoyed the services of the local Rotaract club on two days, Andrew Johanson, on his 5th mission as patient entertainment, a role he is most definitely well suited for; Wendy Axelrod, on her 3rd mission, and indispensable as PACU assistant; and Judy Bucko, on her second mission, and my roomie and ward coordinator, she put in the most miles. The newbies included Joy Miksic, medical records, requiring much patience and organization; Shushma Patel, sterilizer, always in high demand; Michael Scott, quartermaster, in charge of all supplies, most importantly, those for happy hour and myself, trip historian and photo journalist.
The team bonded immediately and was able to evaluate over 220 children and assist 114! An amazing accomplishment in such as short time period. We are very grateful to the Rotary Club of Guatemala City for their assistance and support. It was an incredible opportunity to meet these children and their families and get to know them. I had the pleasure of interviewing many of them before surgery. Cleft lip and palate is a very challenging condition requiring multiple surgeries during a child's life, starting when they are just a few months old and lasting through their teens in addition to speech therapy. Without the benefit of these, the child may not be able to speak or have limited function which will impact, often halting, their education and progress, not to mention their ability to communicate, grow and flourish in their community.
One of the best parts of the trip was on the last day. The kids came back for a check up. We had enough money left over to buy every child a new pair of shoes and all of the staff at the hospital!
While these programs are guaranteed in the United States, in communities served by Rotaplast, this is not the case. Rotaplast is a vital program, worth of our continued support. I know for me, it was a life changing experience.
To learn more about Rotaplast click here: https://rotaplast.org/ and to see our daily blogs click: https://rotaplast.org/blog/
Article Submitted by Susan Burnett, Rotary Club of Bethlehem Morning Star
Join the team!  Rotaplast Chair PDG Linda Young is looking for new committee members.  Please contact Linda for more information lryoung2011@gmail.com.