Today was the final day of surgery! We still had bags and bags of donations in our hotel room on Thursday night, so we packed everything up. Throughout the week we had carefully tried to ration out the donations we brought to the hospital each day. In the end, we realized that we had more donations than we thought. We had sooo many leftovers to pack up for the last day that we had to have Brittany and other team members lug it in and out of the bus. So, the first thing we did when arrived was sort out all the donations we had brought along with shoes that were left over from the week for the patients in post-op. In order to carry all of our donations to the other side of the hospital were post-op is, we had to use a large gurney and wheel it there and back to pre-op. Even though we had given out donations to all of the Op-Smile patients in Post-op, we still had more donations! So, we went to the other pediatric wards in the hospital and gave out dresses and toys the children. They were so grateful and acted as if they had never gotten a gift before. Their faces just gleamed with happiness and gratitude.
While we were in the non-op smile pediatric wards, we got to see a whole different perspective of patient care. There were about 5 patients to only 1 bed, no were to walk, and baby incubators crowded with swarms of people. Also, there was poor ventilation and despite it being early in the morning, there was no light or sanitation. This made us thankful for the facility that the hospital was generous enough to give us space for our patients to be comfortably treated even though some had to share a bed.
Our friend and wonderful translator Rosalyn from our first day of screening, had returned for her surgery and was very excited to see us again. We got spend some time with her in Child Life before she went in to surgery and she was so happy to be able to get treated today. Her surgery went very well and we visited her in the post-op after.
We also made a trip to Pre-Op but since there were not a lot of surgeries being done, there were only a few patients in there. We did a presentation on Oral Re-hydration Therapy and Burn Care. Once we had finished, we had a ton of donations to hand out so we decided to give some to the local nurses for their children. They lined up as we handed out our goods with smiles hung from ear to ear while receiving.
With most of our donations gone, we saved a box for the mission coming up in June that will be held in Nairobi, Kenya. We were so fortunate to have received so many supplies to not only help Operation Smile patients but also many other children in need. We knew that no matter where we gave out the donations, they would go to a child who would greatly appreciate it.
We are so thankful to have enjoyed the company of such a strong and dedicated team. Even when a child with a cleft lip showed up for screening just a couple hours before pack up time, the doctors managed to squeeze her in to the schedule. It is amazing to see such a global team of volunteers come together to complete 128 surgeries. Although we physically changed the lives of those children receiving surgery, the impact we made rippled to each patient’s family, friends, and community. Each team member played a valuable role in the success of each surgery, from medical records to post-op, each team member put in an extra effort to make sure each patient was comfortable throughout the whole process. That is what a team is all about.
After a long week of surgery, the team headed back to the hotel to clean up for the final party. It was such a change to see everyone all dressed up! We hopped on the bus and drove a short ways to a nice hotel where we would have our final party. It was great to see each member there for one last gathering before we would depart Nakuru. After an entertaining Maasai tribal dance show, the student team presented superlatives to team members who we thought deserved special recognition for their talents and hard work throughout the week. All in all, it was a fabulous day and final party. We are so happy the mission was a success, but sad to have left Kenya.
p.s. a few more posts are still to come :)