Cleft lip and cleft palate

A common seen problem in Ecuador is cleft lip and cleft palate. Sometime just cleft palate. This is a genetic problem. The pictures below are one of the children taken by the staff at a different hospital than where I worked.


The child will be seen again in clinic and the healing and transformation will be remarkable.

The next picture is of a patient seen in 2002; she was 31 years old. MME did not exist then. It is difficult to look at but it is the reason for why this team does what it does. This woman never made it to surgery as an infant.

She was evaluated in the preop clinic by Dr Ray Ortega, from Fargo, ND. His plastic surgery team took the challenge.


I met her about four years later and she had barely a scar. This is why we do what we do.

Casa de Fe Children

Children from Casa de Fe with caregivers were scheduled to come to the preoperative clinics on Sunday to be evaluated by the surgeons and screened by the anesthesia teams and then scheduled for surgery. Five children from CDF with caregivers were seen and scheduled. On Tuesday two of the children came to the hospital where the storeroom and pharmacy are located. They were both scheduled to have surgery with Dr Sticca, a surgeon from Fargo, on that morning.

Dr Sticca's Casa de Fe Patients 10078.jpg

Rain and the Brokendown Dam!

In the past there have been terrific rainstorms in Shell that absolutely destroy the dyke. The dike was destroyed two years ago when we were in Shell with our last team. When I walked to Casa de Fe to have lunch with Pattie Sue, I took some pictures of the dike and bridge. You will notice the narrow bridge that you could drive a car across is still gone.

Repaired dike that was destroyed two years ago.

Repaired dike that was destroyed two years ago.

I would guess that it rained for 90 minutes. I thought about going out in the downpour to see what kind of damage was possibly being done. Common sense “won” and I stayed in my hotel room. The next morning when Mark Blosser came with Lues to drive me to Ambato, he shared the following pictures with me. For those of you who have been Shell, there is almost complete destruction. And they just recently finished the repairs from the flood two years ago.

Pindo Flood #1.jpg
Pindo Flood #2.jpg
Pindo Flood #3.jpg
Pindo Flood #4.jpg
Pindo Flood #5.jpg

So twice in the last three years the Pindo dike, swimming area, beach, etc., have been destroyed by Mother Nature.

Bibles for the Jungle

Each year when I make a trip alone like this year, or with Vicky, or Vicky and I lead a team, I/we are always asked to bring items of necessity to Shell. It may be the hospital, the school, a mission and/or a missionary.

This year I had a request from Jacob Bezemer; someone I did not know. He asked if he could order some Bibles to be delivered to me and then I could bring them to Shell. He ordered 150!!


Jacob Bezemer holding a Bible

To my surprise when the Bibles arrived I found that they were about the size of an old iPhone. They are solar powered!! The indigenous people of the jungle speak two languages, Shuar and Ashuar. There were 75 Bibles of each language. Jacob told me that when they are reaching out to the jungle people they do not like to read; they like to listen. The Bibles are a translation of the New Testament. He is looking forward to a translation of the Old Testament.

Jacob and his wife Linda are from Holland. The have five children; two boys, ages 1 & 9, and three girls, ages 4,5 & 7. The family lives in a settlement of indigenous people outside of Shell. They plan on living here forever. He has been accepted into the Ecuadorian Retiremenet plan.

In Holland he studied several medical subjects; medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics, and I beleive some surgical work. I think we would compare him to a general practitioner but more advanced. I know he has worked with Dr Wolff in the hospital here in Shell.

What an incredile family!


Each year when we go to Ecuador we are asked by the missionaries and/or mission organizations to bring needed materials with us. This year since I am traveling alone and visiting and/or working with several missions, I brought a lot of “stuff.” I have four luggage bags; two monsters, a medium and my carryon. I used the medium for my clothes and the two large bags for mission requests. One of them is full of “stuff” donated to me from HERO, the Health Equipment Recycling Organization started many years ago in Fargo, ND. I was able to get a baggage waiver for the second large bag because I am doing mission work with our nonprofit organization, SALTS, Inc. I also have three wheelchairs, one of which would not fold up. They took them all. It took forever in the Quito airport for all my baggage to appear but fortunately I have it all and will distribute it as I spend the next ten days serving the missions in Shell and Ambato.


All the stuff I brought with me to Ecuador!