In the last surgical mission of 2021, before the covid wave caused provinces and cities to apply social distancing and lockdown measures, there was a mother with a great strength who traveled from far distance to bring her child to the mission.
Y Chinh lives with her son in Diek Not village, a small village of the Ca Dong people, in Ngoc Tem commune, Kon Plong district – a remote mountainous region of Kon Tum province, bordering Quang Ngai. Surely everyone remembers the historic flood at the end of 2020. Ngoc Tem commune was the heavily affected locality, one of the places suffered the most serious landslides among dozens of landslides on the Truong Son Dong route.
The storm passed, the road was repaired, and Operation Smile Vietnam’s program came to Quang Ngai. Even though she has to use a wheelchair, Ms. Y Chinh decided to take her 17-month-old son, A Quoc Bao, to Quang Ngai Obstetrics and Children’s Hospital, hoping the doctors could heal his lips.
The image of a mother in a wheelchair bringing her child, checking all the procedures, taking care of her baby, and taking him into the operating room are truly touching and unforgettable for Operation Smile’s volunteer team. The surgery was forty minutes long, also forty minutes full of hope but a lot of anxiety for the mother when she put all her hopes behind the operating room door. Bao’s mother had never gone that far before because his mother’s legs were not as normal, and the family lives among the rolling hills and mountains making traveling even much more difficult. And more than anyone else, a mother understands that a physical defect, no matter how small, will make her child’s future more difficult and bumpy like what she had to go through. More than anything, Ms. Y Chinh just wanted Bao to be able to eat normally, go to class confidently, and grow up with the dream of overcoming the high mountains of her hometown, something his mother had never dared to dream of.
For Ms. Y Chinh, the journey to find her child’s smile is probably the greatest journey in her life. Luckily, she and her son went through that journey with the support of doctors, volunteers, and the whole community. We can only describe that journey with one word – LOVE!