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On a Mission for Smiles

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Sarah Mah '20

Sarah Mah '20 Operation Smile is a humanitarian non-profit that provides invaluable medical service to children with cleft palates. Students involved in the organization can apply for missions thorough the International Operation Smile Organization, and Grace Dismukes was extremely luc

ky to be selected as an ambassador for a mission! Once students are chosen, they are assigned a mission at a select location, which can vary from Italy to India. They work alongside medical professionals as well as a patients and their families, and most ambassadors go to schools and teach various health modules to children in these locations. Operation Smile Student Ambassador, Marissa Parker, was chosen to be on a medical mission to Guatemala.

Location: Guatemala City, Guatemala

Marissa's Mission Statement: From September 27th to October 4th, 2019, I was given the opportunity to attend a medical mission in Guatemala City, Guatemala. On the mission my role was to be a student educator where I taught the locals about basic health care safety like washing hands, brushing teeth, hands only CPR, and nutrition. Even with the language barrier, I, got along with my student partners, we were able to use translators to communicate and share these important lessons to hopefully prevent illnesses and injuries. Additionally, I was able to work with the patients that were getting screened for surgeries, and pre and post operation during the surgery days.

“It was amazing to be able to take the families minds off of the stress of screening and the fear of surgery and make new friends in the process. ”

It was amazing to be able to take the families minds off of the stress of screening and the fear of surgery and make new friends in the process.

On the last surgery day I was also able to go into the operating room and actually watch and entire bilateral cleft lip surgery which was so fascinating. I was able to see the little boy, Rory Estuardo, before, during, and after his surgery which really allowed me to see the full transformation and process of the work Operation Smile is able to accomplish.

The surgeon was extremely insightful and walked me through the whole process which I am extremely grateful that I was able to take part in.

All of the opportunities I was granted on this medical mission further solidified my plan to go into nursing because of the need for medical care around the world and how amazing it feels to be able to provide that care to others. It was such a life changing experience to be able to help provide medical care to those in need in Guatemala which would usually be easily accessible in the United States, and has really made me realize our privilege.

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