Cuenca 2011 with Operation Rainbow
the FACE OF Operation Rainbow
This is why we do this. The story behind this little boy is what makes us stop for a second and hold our breath. His name is Roberto, and in the above image he’d been waiting in line in the hospital with his mother and father for 7 hours. With little food. Only to present an injury that may have resulted in him being turned away because of it being too advanced or otherwise untreatable.
Roberto’s injury was treatable. On this trip, like all, were immensely skilled surgeons and a compassionate set of medical support staff, who with a concerted effort were able to let Roberto’s parents know that he would be able to regain important movement in his left hand.
He’s a kid. He needs to play. And later, he needs to contribute to society.
These are simple but incomprehensibly compelling needs for the masses of us who may take arm/leg movement for granted.
One mishap, movement forever lost
Roberto is five years old. He and a friend were playing with machetes. Yes, these hugely long and terrifically sharp knives are ubiquitous in the developing world. His friend got far too close to Roberto, and in defense, Roberto raised his left arm to deflect the machete’s strike.
In raising his tiny arm to block the large knife, the backside of his wrist, opposite the side of his palm, caught the blow. Just below his wrist, gone were all his tendons. The knife tore through all of this little guy’s soft tissue. It was a fleeting moment, and a terrible mishap. But no more could he raise his hand up from the wrist. This is likely a type of movement that nearly all of us think nothing about, because it’s easy to take for granted. But imagine you could no longer raise your wrist nor fingers.
His second chance
Roberto has regained movement. Because, as of this writing, his surgery is complete. And he woke up from anesthesia with the same endearing smile we saw before he went into surgery. This little guy stops traffic, at least in this hospital. Despite his ailment, he smiles quite a lot, and wins hearts in the process.
Above is Roberto, on his way to the operating room. The guy is a happy little kid. And he’ll continue to be happier. Because he can continue to be a kid. These are simple but compelling things to desire in life – to use both hands, and to not feel y0u’re deformed.
More faces of Operation Rainbow
These are more of the endearing faces we see and care for on these trips. I stress something that may or may not seem obvious: these are kids. They have the same playfulness, curiosity, and innocence of any kid in the U.S. or any developing world country. They all deserve the same thing – to grow up, learn, and have fun.
As with all posts relating to Operation Rainbow, this post is a plea for continued help. Operation Rainbow does all its work through donations and grants. We need your help. If these kids have moved you in the least, please visit the above site and consider donating.
Kids you will likely never meet will benefit from your contribution – helping strangers is indeed one of the greatest acts of kindness.