In the words of Linda Esposto, Executive Director
Surgicorps trips are all unique, yet they all have one thing in common-witnessing the love of parents for their children in all lands, and their willingness to sacrifice for them.
Ethiopia was no different. Mothers who brought their malnourished children to us at the CURE hospital in Addis Ababa in hope of a palate repair to change their lives. Mothers who were unable to produce enough breast milk to feed their infants and had no funds to purchase goat milk as supplement.
Their tears brought us to tears. In some cases, all we could offer were hugs of support.
It is overwhelming. It is at times so sad.
Yet there is always hope. In Ethiopia, hope manifested itself in the form of 2 sisters, ages 5 and 7, brought by their father for cleft repairs. Two sisters, lips repaired, new smiles matched by the smile of their father and the smiles of the surgical team that had changed their lives forever, and given them hope.
But most of all, there is hope because of the inspiring life commitment of CURE’s medical staff, their spouses and children. They came to Africa to work and stayed. Living in less then ideal conditions, they sacrificed their careers and lifestyle in the United States to provide care and hope to the less fortunate in Ethiopia.
They get tired. They get frustrated. But they persevere. So when a surgical volunteer team joins them (and brings such rare and special treats as pretzels and Velveeta cheese), they are renewed, they are refreshed, they are re-energized to resume their mission. Soon after our return, a colleague and friend from Addis Ababa sent the following:
“A bible verse came to my mind which I think best reflects how I feel about your visit:
Your love has given me great Joy and encouragement, because you have refreshed the hearts of the saints” (Philemon7)
To her, we reply: “YOUR love has given US great joy and encouragement, and you have refreshed OUR hearts.”