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On a Mission

Michelle Benedict | Tanzania, United Republic of

At opening clinic, most children clung to their mothers and were visibly tense.  Not John.  He ran through the legs of doctors and nurses, pulling on our pockets in search of chocolate or a good tickle.  At the time it wasn’t clear who he belonged to and if he was even a potential patient.  To me, there was no visible sign of abnormality- other than the most beautiful, biggest eyes and widest grin I’d ever seen.  I came to find out he had a bad burn on his left arm that kept it locked in about 90 degrees with something that looked akin to a wing or web between his upper and lower arm that kept it stuck in place.  He is six years old.  His arm has been this way since he was one and half. Many children in this region are dipped in hot oil as punishment for “misbehaving”. Based on other information, this may be how John's wing came to be.

Children living in poverty around the world hide their faces, they have been ostracized their whole lives because they were born with physical deformities or disabilities. Many get excluded from or mocked mercilessly at school, some are abandoned and left homeless, some are further mutilated as punishment or due to cultural beliefs about their "curse". They have trouble eating, sleeping, breathing- basic human functions.

Rotaplast International is comprised of volunteer doctors, nurses, and other medical/non-medical staff committed to helping children and families worldwide by eliminating the burden of cleft lip and/or palate, burn scarring, and other deformities. This is their story...

Rotaplast International

http://rotaplast.org

Michelle Benedict

E-mail: ms.michelle.benedict@gmail.com

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