We checked into our Hotel and it was straight off to the Hospital to meet up with the Operation Smile team who were already half way through the first day of screening. We drove into the grounds of this massive hospital complex, grey stained buildings, sun parched grounds and masses of people trickling in and out of the front gate, things were happening here.
As we approached the screening area, I could see the masses of people, lots of then looking quite bewildered, lost as well as overwhelmed with what was happening. Every now and then I would catch a glimpse of a distorted, twisted face shielded from my view. What really struck me was the amount of little children wrapped in light linen, hidden from the scrutinising eyes of the public. I could feel the inner hurt of the mother, but I could also feel the overwhelming sense of hope that was awash in the air. This was the biggest amount of people that I had ever seen at a screening that I had been to, but over the next 2 days, there were more that were on their way.
We climbed up 4 flights of stairs, the walls painted a light turquoise, crusted with years of grime brushed from hundreds of people journeying up into the heart of dilapidated hospital. Finally reaching the screening floor, each test the children need to undergo set up in a different room.
My ears ran with the sound of the crying of children bouncing of the wall of the sparsely furnished rooms. A sound that seems to penetrate deep into ones subconscious and trigger emotion that is unstoppable, you just want to run up and hug the little ones. The Operation Smile team quietly and effortlessly work through the queue of children, everything is so well organised. The love and passion that is shown from this group of volunteers who constantly give up months of their time never ceases to amaze me.