Before I end this blog, I would like to say what an honor and privilege it has been for me to be the photojournalist on this mission and to have had the opportunity to work with such an amazing team!! Many thanks to everyone that has made this mission a success and changed so many lives!
And to you, the readers: Thank you for allowing me to take you on this journey to our 5th successful mission to Chittagong, Bangladesh! I hope that you have enjoyed the blog, the pictures and the stories!!
If I may, I would like to share with you one more picture before I sign off.....
Me with Jumayna, before and after surgery :)
Until next time...hugs to all and thank you again.
Also, much thanks to our sponsors the Charlotte Geyer Foundation, The Rotary Club of San Francisco # 2, and Rotary Club of San Francisco Foundation.
Now let's walk over to join our hosts for the closing ceremony and lunch.
Hey, look who it is! It's Sumaya and her mom and dad. Sumaya was released from the hospital today and her father, who is a rickshaw driver, picked them up to take them to their home two hours away. Bye bye!!
and look who Nurse Debbie found...aw cute little lamb!! There were several lambs near the hospital and they must have known that we were leaving today because they came right up to Debbie to say good bye :)
We finally made it to the lunch/closing ceremony...wow, look at all the yummy food!!
Now its time for the closing ceremony!! As we walk in, the Rotaracter's from the University of Chittagong hand us beautiful flowers!! Thank you!!
Our gracious hosts, The Rotary Club of Agrabad, present our Team Leader Randy with thank you gifts for each of us.
Let's exchange some Rotary banners!! I'm going to present my banner, from the Rotary Club of Saratoga, with our hosts, The Rotary Club of Agrabad!!
Randy is now going to present some of our many wonderful local volunteers a certificate of appreciation.
Let's get the group together for one more group pic!! Bye everyone!!! Thank you for everything!!!
Before we leave, here is a message from our amazing Team Leader, Randy:
"The Rotaplast mission to Chittagong has been a great success. Success is not only measured in the 75 children and adults who have had life changing surgery, but also in the relationships and partnerships that have been formed. In addition to the Rotaplast team, the Rotary Club of Agrabad, the three local Rotaract Clubs, The Southern Medical College Hospital, the Charlotte Geyer Foundation and other funders all came together making "Service Above Self" their goal. That resulted in a successful mission.
It was indeed my honor to be part of this wonderful Rotaplast team. "Saving Smiles, Changing Lives", Rotaplast rocks on."
wait...how about one more team pic at the hotel!! Great job everyone!! Now its time to go home!!!
Good morning. We are on our last day in Chittagong, Bangladesh. :(
We will start off our morning visiting patients from yesterday and then conducting a post-op clinic that is open to all the patients that we have seen over the last two weeks. Patients have the opportunity to meet with their surgeon again and ask any questions they may have regarding their recovery. After that they meet with me for one last post-op pic!!
Today, on behalf of the Rotary Club of Saratoga, CA, District 5170, I get to surprise each patient with a special gift. Each child can choose between a soccer ball or baby doll that sings!! Yay!!
The children will also receive a get well card that was handmade for them by the children of Marshall Lane Elementary school. As you may have seen in some of my previous posts, the 1st graders at Marshall Lane not only made these beautiful get well cards, but they also donated beanie babies for each patient!! One other fun thing that was incorporated in this mission was Project Cornerstone's Intentional Acts of Caring. Last month, in partnership with Project Cornerstone parents such as myself, a special assembly was conducted at Marshall Lane to celebrate our students’ commitment to paying kindness forward. Every class created a chain of good intentions. Each student recorded what intentional act of caring that they will commit to doing on a rectangle of paper and how it will make them feel to perform this act on another rectangle. I continued the chain of good intentions with messages and intentional act of caring from the children in Bangladesh that stayed in the hospital during this mission. Rotaracter Ruba Sultana, President of the Rotaract Club of CTG (Chittagong University), helped me in this project. Thank you Ruba!!!
Good Morning and welcome to operation day 5!! The theme today was inspired by a group of children I saw playing cricket this morning behind the hospital. Each of them hope that one day they will be able to represent Bangladesh in the Cricket World Cup. Let's walk over there now and meet them!!
The kids love showing off their cricket skills for my camera!!
And their mothers enjoy watching them play as well.
Time to go back to the hospital...looks like I have two new buddies who want to go with me :)
Back at the hospital our Team Leader is busy giving another interview for the local news crews about our mission. He is accompanied by our Rotary hosts, the Rotarians of Agrabad.
Samia wants to say hi as well!! Hi Samia!! Many of the local women and girls come to the hospital dressed in beautiful and colorful clothes, just like Samia.
On my way back to the ward, I run into Dr. Preet, our orthodontist, who is taking a patient to get her teeth cleaned.
I finally made it to the ward where our Pediatrician, Nan, is checking in on the patients. Here she is with Rahema and her family.
Our next stop is to check in on Lamia who had surgery on her cleft lip last night. Let's take a quick look at Lamia's picture from last night before we check in our her today!!
and meet Lamia now!!
and here is a side by side pic before and after :)
wow! great job Dr. David and Dr. Rod!!!
Another special guest in the ward is Shiro!!
Let's Meet Shiro!!
Shiro, 23, originally came to Rotaplast two years ago to receive help but unfortunately she showed up on the last day of surgery and at that time Rotaplast had no time left to help her. However, we promised to help her the next time we were in Chittagong and she received her first surgery during the 2014 mission.
Here is a picture of Shiro last year.
Shiro was burned when she was 15 years old. One day, she was trying to cook a meal for herself. She was alone at the time. In seconds, kerosene exploded in front of her and caught fire to her chest, neck and face. When help arrived, she was taken to the hospital and the burn care she received was little more than ointment and bandages. It’s difficult to comprehend the pain and suffering Shiro has endured since the fire. She suffered from scar contractures all along her chest, neck and jaw. The contractures were so severe that her mouth and jaw remained open for seven years!!
Thanks to the amazing surgical team last year, Shiro can now close her mouth and has a beautiful new chin!
Here is Shiro today!!
and lets see a before and after picture of Shiro!!
Awesome! You look beautiful Shiro!!
oh and Dr. Preet worked on Shiro's teeth today as well!! Let's see that before and after!!
Good morning! After a day of rest yesterday we are back and ready to go with operation day 4!!
The theme today is, service to others which was inspired by Nurse Kim and her quote of the day for the PACU as well as the Rotary's primary motto of Service Above Self.
Nurse Kim writes inspirational quotes each day to go onto the wall of the PACU for the patients and the Rotaplast team members. Thanks Nurse Kim!!
Here she is today write today's quote.
Speaking of service to others, let meet some of our Rotaplast, Bangladesh 2015 team members who have dedicated their time, energy and lives to serve others. Let's start with our team leader Randy Floyd who in my opinion serves as the perfect example of service above self.
Meet Randy our Team Leader
This is Randy’s 10th mission with Rotaplast. He is Rotarian from District 7430, Harleysville, Pennsylvania. When he is not being an amazing team leader on Rotaplast missions he works as a Police Chief for the Telford Borough Police Department.
When I asked Randy why he goes on these missions he told me, “I love Rotaplast. It is a program that is meaningful to me because it helps our worlds most neediest children and helps bring a smile to their face. It brings great balance to my stressful life and helps me to work with the two most important causes in my life, helping the poor and helping children.”
Now before we meet the next team member, lets go to check in on the Patients Ward!!
Hey, look who it is! Its Dr. Kathy with Mahmul and his mom on their way to the ward. Hi guys!!
Our first stop in the ward is with Parvin. Parvin was badly burned last year after her husband poured kerosene on her and set her on fire because of a disagreement with the family. She came to us to receive help for a facial burns and to release some of the tightening that occurred around her mouth and jaw from the scarring. Her mother and her children spend time with her while she is in the ward recovering.
Next we say hi to Sabrina! I just gave Sabrina her first pair of socks and she loved them!!!
Most children in Bangladesh never have the opportunity to own a pair of socks due to their high cost. So receiving socks today in the ward was a big treat and it kept their feet nice and toasty after surgery! :)
Now let's go give our buddy Aminul some socks as well!!
Speaking of Aminul, I have to tell you what a great big brother he has been to some of the younger patients in the ward. He helps play with them to help them keep their mind of the pain and perhaps his own pain as well.
Here is a picture of Aminul with Rumana who had surgery yesterday. Rumana had been complaining about pain all day but she stopped the minute that Aminul started playing a video game with her on Transporter Suzy's phone! Way to go Aminul!! You are awesome!!
We are now on operation day 3!! One of our first patients gave us the peace sign right before she went in for surgery so I decided that the theme today should something that is a universal wish for all- PEACE - শান্তি
Let's meet that special person that motivated today's theme.
Sabrina is four years old. She travelled with her family for three hours by taxi to meet with us on clinic day. Sabrina has had two prior surgeries to repair a cleft lip and today she will be having surgery to repair a cleft palate.
Here is Sabrina on her way into the operating room.
Before going in, Sabrina has her doll give her anesthesiologist Dr. Pieter Van Delden a kiss for good luck!!
Then she gave our transporter Suzy a good luck kiss before she went in. So sweet!!! Good luck Sabrina!!
Sabrina's operation went very well!! Here she is after surgery being comforted by Nurse Kim in the PACU.
I just checked in on Sabrina in the recovery ward and her mom told me that she is doing great! In fact, just to prove that she was doing well Sabrina flashed her famous pose for my camera!! You are awesome Sabrina!!
Now let's meet some of our other patients that greeted us with the peace sign today!!
Here is Dr. Kathy, Any and her mom and Dr. David
Our transporter Suzy and Mohammed get in on the fun!!