Cleft Week

By Heather

Today at the hospital, I saw a 17-year-old who has an unrepaired cleft lip.  Can you even imagine going to school with an open cleft lip?  In a place where many people believe that genetic malformations like this are the result of a curse?  I did not have the heart to ask whether I could take his picture, but you can imagine that an open hole from his nose through his lip makes him look like a sure target for a whole lot of teasing in any school in the world.  This young man is here at the hospital today, because tomorrow, his lip can be repaired. 

Our friend Drew, a craniofacial plastic surgeon, is here for the week, and we are so glad for his visit.  Most of our team met Drew several years ago when we were all working in Kenya.  Drew and his wife, Kim, have traveled the world, working in hospitals on three continents.  They came to us this time with quite a bit of luggage for a 10-day visit.  They brought precious gifts like chocolate, and they also brought lots of instruments needed for cleft lip and palate operations.  
In anticipation of this week, the hospital arranged for radio notifications all over the country to alert patients of this opportunity.  Normally in Burundi, there is no one who can close cleft lips or palates, except for occasional visiting teams of plastic or ENT surgeons.  So this week the Kibuye Hospital hallways are crowded with patients hoping for cleft lip and palate repairs.  Some of the little ones have been too malnourished to schedule for surgery, but quite a few cases can be done this week.
This little sweetheart’s lip was repaired yesterday, and she should go home in a few days. 

Our sending organization’s name has recently changed from World Harvest Mission to Serge.  I was thinking about this today, because the word serge means to stitch together two rough edges of material to make a strong seam.  I wonder whether repairing cleft lips would almost qualify as serging. 

Please pray for the operations this week and for the patients as they heal.  May they grow to be people who praise the God that loves to heal brokenness, to create beauty, to stitch together rough edges.     


Barb said...

Thank you for this window into your world there, Heather. One more evidence of the difference your presence is making there, by the Grace of God. We rejoice with you and pray all goes well with these patients as they recover and enjoy this dramatic change.

tscarlet said...