HEALTH TALENTS INTERNATIONAL
LITTLE CLARA--GUATEMALA 2002

Early Monday morning my friend and I went on our morning walk. We passed some people sitting on the curb inside the compound. They were waiting to get into the clinic to see the doctor. Among those waiting was a small girl and her father. They were dressed in traditional Indian clothing. The child appeared to be about 8 years old and appeared very shy, as her gaze was downcast. She also had a cleft lip. My heart went out to them as they sat patiently waiting. I suspected that would not be my last encounter with them.

Several hours later one of the surgical nurses brought the young girl out of the OR to the ward where I was working. In spite of swelling from surgery, her physical appearance was dramatically different. Her father sat patiently by the bedside all day and night. Through an interpreter, he explained that Clara had been hidden away and had never attended school. He was absolutely beaming at the work that had been done by our skilled surgeon, Dr. Philip Strawther. As Clara and her father prepared to leave our hospital the next morning, I thought of my own 8-year-old granddaughter, Ella. Little Clara was putting on her clothes in much the same way Ella does, yet their worlds are so far apart. I pray that I will never take our God-given blessings for granted. What a privilege to come to this beautiful country in the name of Christian love.


Martha Oyston, RN
February 2002