Over 70 major head and neck surgeries were performed by a team of 28 visiting medical personnel organized by Dr. James Netterville of Vanderbilt University Hospital. Nine doctors from Kenya, one each from Uganda, Ethiopia and Zambia screened patients and performed surgeries side by side with the American surgeons.
At the same time over 200 patients were seen at the ENT clinic that ran simultaneously during the surgeries.
CARIS sponsors the camp in partnership with Tawfiq Hospital and Mombassa Maize Millers. All surgeries are free and people who could never afford this medical care were helped. Patients come with huge tumors that have deformed their face and neck. They come covered in cloth from shame and fear. But after surgery and recovery they leave the hospital proudly exposed and full of hope. Hidden lives can now come out in the open.
Delicate life changing surgeries were done on small children who had formed growths on sensitive facial nerves. These nerves were saved by the careful hands of our surgeons and the children will go on in life with normal control of their facial muscles.
But the child who took all of our hearts was Hussan, a 14 year old boy. Back in February he and his brothers were shepherding their goats and sheep when they came across some wires that had been discarded by the local rock quarry. They took the wires home and were making their own little lights with flash light bulbs and batteries so they could study their homework. Unfortunately one of the wires still had the blasting cap connected. When they hooked the wires up to the battery the cap exploded near Hussan's mouth and blew off his chin. The poor boy only wanted to study for school and suddenly his life was drastically changed. He lost the greater percentage of his speech abilities and he had to be fed with a syringe. Without a chin his mouth gaps open and saliva is captured by a plastic bag he wears around his neck. His eyes looked hollow and hopeless.
After 2 days of surgery our team had rebuilt his chin with a piece of the small bone in his leg and grafting his own muscles and skin round that bone. We hope to continue with more surgeries each year until his mouth is rebuilt. When he left the hospital he was eating his own food for the first time since the tragedy and his speech had improved. But most of all he had a glimmer of hope in his eyes and his mother and father were smiling.
God's healing grace was felt and experienced.