Smooth Sailing and Happy 1st Birthday – Ethiopia 2017

Smooth Sailing on Surgery Day 2, and Happy Birthday to Trsit!

Meet Trsit – today is her first birthday, and today she gets to go home with her loving parents after having cleft lip repair yesterday. Needless to say, they were eager to get home. Just before their departure we were able to celebrate with cake and a wonderful rendition of traditional U.S. “Happy Birthday” by CSI nurses Haley Bye, Sarah Hartnett, Norie Wilson and Mary Bye along with pediatrician Dr. Saira Mitha. We are all very close and cozy in the same small hospital ward – patients, parents, CSI and local staff –  so everyone shared in the celebration. The kind staff at our hotel made the cake and even delivered it to the hospital.

Trsit’s family learned about CSI from an ad in the local paper. They arrived on our first day of surgery. Trsit was evaluated and promptly added as the final patient on our Day 1 surgery schedule. No matter where you live, two of the hardest things on surgery day are waiting and not being able to feed your baby. At one point, Trsit’s family was ready to give up and come back the next day. We encouraged them to stay, as they had come this far and were so close. “If it were my daughter, I would stay,” said a CSI team member.

So they waited. When Trsit wasn’t sleeping, cozily wrapped on her aunt’s back, her loving father comforted and entertained her. CSI team members played peek-a-boo and showed pictures to Trsit and her family. Lucky for us, Trsit’s father’s English is excellent; he even helped by interpreting for other families. We talked a lot as we waited. “I have learned many things today about how you serve the patient,” he said. “There is so much need in my country. Thank you for showing our doctors this.”

Along with singing and cake, there were hugs, kisses and tears of joy as we bid Trsit and her family farewell this morning. On to living life – eating, playing, talking and laughing and growing in her community.

Today, Drs. Birara and Wudie performed significant parts of surgeries alongside the CSI team. They got more experience with cleft lip and palate repair as well as the opportunity to remove a complex neck mass on 6-year-old Temesgen. Tonight, he and the other children are in the packed recovery ward room and hallway, resting with family and doing well. It’s 8 p.m., and finally time to head to the hotel for dinner and some sleep.

Enjoy our trip photos here.