Posted on: 04/27/2016

Author: Kampman, Marybeth

To see photos of Victor and his mother go to


Today was a day in which I saw many transformations. The most notable was the case of a little boy named Victor.  His story with FIP started in 2012 when he  was just an infant. It just happened that I met him and his mother that year while I was serving with another team. 


When I  first met them his young mother was very nervous and afraid for her child. His condition was a bi-lateral cleft lip and palate which was quite disfiguring. He first operation was the most visually dramatic in that afterwards his lip was closed. More significantly for his health, it was now possible for him to feed normally. I still remember his mother being completely overwhelmed with thankfulness the first time that she held him after the surgery.


Victor and his mother returned in 2013 to the Obras to have his palate repaired. Once again it was a very hard time for the mother. Even though the previous surgery had been very successful, it was still difficult for her. However, her faith in God and in the FIP team was very apparent. The surgery was successful which meant that the chances for her son to develop normal eating habits and  speech was now increased.


This year I was pleasantly surprised to see them once again. In fact I recognized the mother not the little boy. HIs facial scars had healed beautifully. He was here for another operation to repair a fistula on his palate. As a child grows, it frequently takes more than one operation to completely repair the palate. 


Victor was not happy to be at the hospital. I am sure that he remembered being here before, because when he saw me with my camera he immediately opened his mouth wide and held back his head. This little guy had gone through many exams and procedures, and it was clear that he knew that something was up.


It was also a stressful time for his mother. She had recently had another child whom she was breastfeeding. Her mother had traveled with her and  her two children to the Obras. They took turns staying with Victor so that his mother could go to her younger child to feed him.

She was making every effort to be as patient as possible but clearly the family was going through a very difficult  time. Victor’s operation was scheduled late in the morning and was very hard for a hungry (because of the necessity to fast for anesthesia) normally  active boy to remain calm.


HIs operation was  successful and he and his mother spent the night in the hospital. This morning when I went to visit them on the ward, their change in mood was like sunshine lighting up the room. Even though Victor had just had a significant operation he was up and around smiling happily. HIs happy smile was matched if not surpassed by his mother’s. Her relief that the operation had gone well and that they would soon be returning home as a family was palpable. Mother and child were playful, playing silly hand games. I watched them leave the Obras, truly transformed in many ways.