Operation Smile and Our Medical Mission

If you are unfamiliar with Operation Smile, it is a non-profit, internationally recognized childrens charity that mobilizes a world of generous hearts and medical teams to heal children's smiles and transform lives across the globe. We offer surgery free of charge for cleft lip and palates through volunteer International Medical Missions in developing countries.

We (Mima and Olivia) will be away from the 19th through the 31st of March with a team of 70 people, made up of doctors, nurses, speech therapists, medical record keepers and more. We will be participating as student volunteers on the mission.

The primary role of a student on a medical mission is to Educate. We will be meeting hundreds of families and children everyday at the hospital or in local schools and orphanages. We will have the opportunity to give people presentations about Dental Hygiene, Oral Re-hydration, Burn Care, and Nutrition. We will also be spending time with children and families before their surgeries and after. We also have the opportunity to sit in on surgeries.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

WOW...What a life!!!


So sorry we haven't written. We weren't really aware we even had a computer to use at first, and then the 2nd day were were too tired and now today we are still very tired, but how could we not write. It is amazing here. In so many ways!!! Our hotel is so nice. We are sharing a room with Margarita our student sponsor, and our room has a beautiful view of the Nile River
SO much has been happening that we think the best way to try to describe it would be in a quickish summary. We have to go to bed soon, actually. (Tomorrow is the first day of surgery!)
SO after a lot of travel, and a mishap with a blizzard, blahblah, we got to Aswan, Egypt at 11:45 p.m. We got to sleep around 2:30! The next day we woke up at 5:45 a.m, had an amazing breakfast--best falafel, eggs, croissants and tea, ever. Then we went to the hospital. There were tents set up there with a few families sitting beneath waiting to be screened. We played with the kids throughout the day and got to know 160 potential patients. We gave around 10 presentations, which the people seemed to really appreciate. We have so many photos. There are just the most beautiful, happy children here. We blew so many bubbles... handed out all kinds of toys... so many stickers and stamps. We talked with the parents and comforted them a bit. We handed out food to everyone. We did a lot. By the end of the day we were so tired that we just went back to the hotel, ate some tuna and went to sleep!
Woke up at 5:45, ate breakfast, went to hospital. There were like only 30 patients the whole day. It was a very slow day. We still played with the kids and gave only a few presentations, but there really wasn't that much for us to do.We got to see what Screening is like, which was cool. There was alot going on, from medical records, to PIT, dentistry, Lab, speech therapy, etc. We got to help out inside of the hospital a little bit and learn the ropes a tiny bit. But there was really not much we could do, so we left the hospital early, around 4:00 and then we got to go the market/bazaar and do a tiny bit of shopping. We were walking dead on our feet but we went ahead with our later plans and went on a boat! A big boat, like a cruise, on the Nile, one of the Cairo student volunteers Grandpa invited us ALL to dinner on it :) yummmmmy yummmmmy food! After that we fell into bed like lead.
So this was today and WOW, we did so many things that it is going to take me awhile to even remember it all...To start with we got up late, around 8:00 am, and then ate breakfast while watching a slide show of someone's past trip to Cambodia. Then we had a team meeting, lots of laughing, talking, joking, I can't remember the jokes but they were making fun of blondes I think. Then guess what?! To the Nile we went! except this time we were actually moving on the water, and it was soooo hot, like I don't think we will ever be able to complain about Carbondale heat again. We were traveling through little islands to a bigger island called Fox Island, very beautiful, you could see huge boulders underneath the boat just inches below the water and the horizon on one side was huge sand dunes touching the Nile while on the other side was the oasis of Aswan. Gosh gee darn, verrrry prettty, and then....CAMELS!!! Woo Hoo!!! I didn't know how funny they are, and when they bend their heads back it makes weird noises, some guy wanted to marry us because we are young and beautiful :) Then we bartered for scarves and won! Got back on the boat, and saw a huuuuge sanddune. That's when the two of us decided that we should run up it and run down it and then jump in the Nile. We did it, and so much fun!!! Running down sand dunes is awesome and then going into cold cool water, ahhh. Then fabulous dancing conversation and food. We are now realllly tired, like everynight. For some reason it hits at around 7 o'clock. OH and 1st day of surgery tomorrow!!! We can't wait to see who we met screening will be there. Apparently there are only a few people that they have to turn away because they are too young to operate on. There will actually be some older people (25+) there too though, usually they are not able to get surgery because they aren't priority one but this mission is able to fit them in :)))) SO excited for it, we are mostly going to be working with the child life specialist. OH plus the Cairo girls we are working with are great, they are our translators too!!! Tamima, Arzoo, Sara, and Nora, all fun and sweet, like everyone on the team. Don't want to make this to long but so long amigos!!!!

Lots of Love from Mima and Olivia!!!!
Will try and write ASAP hard to say though considering our schedule :)


  1. Wow! It sounds like such a cool experience. Glad you two are taking chances and running into the Nile. You never know when you'll be back! Don't marry any of the locals please! Amazing work, amazing time, amazing girls. Very happy for you both.

  2. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!! I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO happy for you!!!!! FALAFEL!!!!! best. thing. ever. I am so freaking jealous it's unreal. Thank you for bloggin!!! And I smiled the whole time I read it. I hope that you're writing down the names of all the volunteers you're with. Especially translators and stuff. Be sure to take pictures of and with them and write down names wiht what they're wearing because you think you'd remember, but you won't. I love you both and egypt sounds AMAZING. It's so close to JOrdan!! ahhh.. I'm hearbroken right now and home sick!! 1st day of surgery is really chill, and not as many people will be there. Bring out the more interactive stuff that might take longer. I love you both. Take luck! :) Lis

  3. Thanks for the update, delighted to hear you are having a wonderful time, love, Dad

  4. This makes me so Happy to read. I love you two a bunch. This sounds like the most amazing trip ever. I am so happy and proud of both of you your wonderful cant wait to see you both this summer I hope.

    Hannah Florence