Day 1 – Arrival
The Boston contingency of Charlie Badaoui, Pacifico Tuason, Sandra Klein, Natalie Harris, Roberta Anslow, and Theresa Lynch, met at Logan at 10:30pm 2/10. Our flight to Manila left at 1:30AM 2/11. Smooth travels to Hong Kong (16 hours), then onto Manila (2 hours). After getting thru customs with all the medical bags and pelican cases, we were anxious to get to Angeles City to unpack and shower. What should have been a 2 hour (max) drive out of the city and north to AC, turned out to be a close to 5 hour journey. The traffic was unbelievable.
Day 2 Screening:
Today we head to the hospital and will be screen children for surgery. We’ve been told that there are 40 – 50 children read to be screened. It turns out there were closer to 80 children. Screening is almost a full day event. It’s 20 mins to the hospital and then we need to set up. The children waiting for us and anxious. At the end of the process and the day we have a schedule for surgeries for the following days.
Day 3 Surgery Begins:
Zairone is almost two and has a cleft lip and palate. This year we will repair his lip and next year his palate.
Zairone and his family live near to the hospital. He has a brother who is six. There is a history of cleft lip and palate on his mother side. His parents heard about the surgery from a neighbor whose child we repaired last year.
Even at just 2 years old, Zairone is being bullied by kids in the neighborhood and his brother’s friends. When Zairone drinks milk it comes out his nose because of his cleft palate.
Zairone’s father is a construction worker (day laborer), when there isn’t any construction work, he goes down to the market to see if there is a need for heavy lifting.
His father started to cry, telling me “When there is no work, I can’t feed my family”.
Alfredo is 54 and an unusual case for MMFC. We are an organization dedicated to helping children, but on a rare occasion an adult will reach out to us. Such is the case with Alfredo. He saw our billboards in Angeles City announcing our mission dates and found the courage to come to screening day. You see, Alfredo has had offers to have his cleft lip and palate fixed before, but he has been afraid of the surgery. Why now? He finally got tired of the ridicule that he receives on a daily basis. He is a construction worker and his fellow workers stare at him, then laugh behind his back making rude remarks.