Brayan’s smile – Hermosillo 2017

Day One of CSI Hermosillo 2017 trip is in the books, with 20 beautiful children receiving cleft lip and palate surgeries. There are so many stories of love — along with fear, worry, sadness and ultimately hope. We are especially moved by the story of one 4-year old boy, Brayan.

Brayan and his family are members of the Yaqui tribe of indigenous people in Sonora. The Yaqui are very private. They speak their own language, have their own cultural traditions and live in their own communities apart from most of Mexican society. But when Brayan’s aunt, who is the only member of his family who speaks Spanish, by chance heard about the “Rostros Felices” mission, she took the unusual step of reaching out for help.

Brayan was born with both a cleft lip and palate. Because of his appearance and speech patterns, he has been bullied mercilessly by other children and has suffered emotionally and mentally as a result. Brayan arrived at the hospital after traveling with his mother and aunt by bus from their home nearly five hours away. You could see both hope and wary distrust in the women’s faces as they approached us to register him at the hospital. After waiting all day, Brayan was approved for repair of both his cleft lip and palate.

On Sunday, Dr. Brianne Roby performed the surgery. She says he came through it like a champ, and everything went very well. After the procedure, and just one night in the hospital, Brayan has a new appearance. He smiled shyly at us from behind his mother’s skirt before beginning the journey back home this afternoon.

The volunteers from CIMA tell us that they will continue to work with Brayan and his family to assist him with further developmental needs. We are so grateful for the chance to be part of a team of people helping this young Yaqui boy look forward to a normal childhood. It’s days like this that remind us: We really are making a lasting impact.

The first two photos below show Brayan before and after his surgery. Click here for more photos from the day.

Day Two is here, with 20 more surgeries coming up!