Ghaith, a volunteer cleft surgeon with OSUAE,
describes his experience at the June mission in Ghana
In June, I embarked on a life-changing mission with Operation Smile to Koforidua, Ghana. This journey took me to a place where hope and transformation thrived, where lives were forever altered. Among the many incredible stories I encountered, there was one that touched my heart deeply, leaving an indelible mark on my soul. It is the story of a 25-year-old woman who had lived her entire life with a complete cleft lip, yet managed to find love, start a family, and finally, receive the gift of a transformed life.
The Arrival in Koforidua:
As our team arrived to Koforidua, the air was filled with anticipation and excitement. We were greeted warmly by the local community, who had longed for the arrival of Operation Smile’s medical volunteers. The mission aimed to provide life-changing surgeries to individuals born with cleft lips and palates, granting them the chance to smile with confidence and live without the burden of their condition.
Meeting the 25-Year-Old Woman:
Among the patients we encountered, one woman’s story stood out from the rest. She was a 25-year-old lady, who had lived her entire life with a complete cleft lip. Despite the challenges she faced, she had managed to build a life filled with love, hope, and resilience. She had gotten married and recently given birth to a beautiful baby girl.
As a member of the surgical team, I had the privilege of operating on her to repair her cleft lip. The surgery was a success, and the following day, as I walked into the ward, I was greeted by a sight that brought tears of joy to my eyes. There, holding her baby girl, was she, looking like a completely different person.
The Joyful Encounter:
For a moment, I was taken aback, as I mistook the baby for the patient. It was only when I remembered that I had operated on the mother that the realization of her transformation hit me. Her radiant smile and the newfound confidence in her eyes were tangible evidence of the profound impact that the surgery had made on her life.
A Life Transformed:
Witnessing her caring for her little girl was a testament to the life-altering change that Operation Smile had brought to her. No longer burdened by her cleft lip, she now had the opportunity to embrace motherhood with renewed self-assurance and optimism. Her transformation reached far beyond physical appearance, extending into every aspect of her life.
My experience with Operation Smile in Koforidua, Ghana, left an indescribable imprint on my heart. Through witnessing that lady’s transformation, I realized the immense power of a simple surgery to bring hope, joy, and a brighter future to individuals who had endured a lifetime of challenges. As I continue on my journey as a medical professional, I carry the memories of that lady and countless others like her, inspiring me to make a difference in the lives of those in need. Operation Smile’s mission in Ghana exemplified the true essence of compassion, unity, and the transformative power of a smile.