Tandin Dorji

This irrepressible five year old was smiling and racing around the Paro hospital in Bhutan despite the fact that a wildcat had clawed off his nose when he was seven months old. He lives with his parents who tend a herd of 100 yak. Home is a tent in the Himalayas at 11,000 feet elevation. One day, after giving Tandin a bath, his mother left him in the tent while she went out to wash some clothes. A wildcat the size of a large dog crept in and mauled the baby. Returning to the tent, his mother discovered what had happened, bundled up Tandin and, along with her husband, made the three day trip by horseback to the Thimphu Hospital in the capital city where the baby was given emergency care.Communication is limited at 11,000 feet in the mountains, but four years later, on a herder’s radio in camp, they heard about the Surgicorps team coming to Paro. Once again, they all saddled up for the trip down to Paro where Tandin was given the surgery he needed for a new nose and a better chance for a better life. Hesitant about ever wanting to go to school for fear of being ridiculed, he is now enrolled and looking forward to it. Looking in the mirror he exclaimed “Now I’ve got a big nose. I like having a nose again.”

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