We met Yino and his family, and they were easy to distinguish by their bright, traditional clothing. They traveled four hours by foot and another two by car. Seven-month-old Yino has never had a surgery before, and his family was very anxious in the waiting room.
Although no one else in Yino’s community has a cleft lip or palate, many members are supportive. Some people tease him, but his family is very loving and is determined to get him the best care they can. Yino currently has trouble eating, and hopefully after the surgery his nutrition will improve. His family heard about Smile Network on the radio, and hopes that more families will hear about and seek help from the organization in the future.
Yino’s family believes that this surgery will lead to a brighter future for their son. They hope that he will not need any more surgeries, and Yino’s father is excited for his son to look like him. They are hopeful that Yino will be able to grow up being treated normally, both inside and outside his indigenous farming community.
Written by Lisa and Robby Elm, Smile Network trekker and volunteer