Kristen Taekman describes her Journey of Smiles to Haiti.
I recently had the privilege of joining Smile Train staff on a trip to visit their local medical partners in Haiti. This journey will always be so special to me because of the amazing group of people who I experienced it with – including my mom! I was so happy that we were able share this incredible opportunity and witness Smile Train changing so many lives in Haiti.
We started our journey at Smile Train partner, Hôpital Universitaire Justinien, where we met cleft patients at various stages of recovery. Many of the mothers we met had to borrow money from neighbors for transportation to the hospital and they told us that Smile Train completely reimbursed them and even helped families find accommodations if they have nowhere to stay. It is so important that Smile Train helps families before, during, and after cleft surgery.
On our second day, we actually scrubbed in and watched a surgery. It was so amazing to be in the operating room and see Smile Train’s trained local surgeon teaching other local surgeons about cleft surgery.
I recently saw a picture of the little girl we saw in the operating room and she looked great. It was so heartwarming to see her new smile.
The best part of working with Smile Train is seeing how much of the love you put in, comes back to you a million fold. When you see a child’s new smile or see the look of relief on a happy mother’s face it is life-changing.