Menu

Mission Accomplished

by John Paschal In the evening dimness of room 6, nurse Pearl Falkenberg leaned across the silver rail of the small crib and, with a handheld fan, cooled the baby and his mom, who stood beside the nurse at the edge of the baby bed. Just below the two women, one-year-old Rodrigo Ramos Lopez lay crying and sweaty, his tiny legs kicking at warm air while his mother tried to soothe him with soft words and caresses. Moments hence, as silence took hold of the baby, the women began conversing in Spanish, their words in soft and measured tones. Pearl glanced at me. “A few minutes ago he was really screaming and sweaty,” she explained as I stood by the crib at 5:20 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 7, the final day of surgery during the Austin Smiles medical mission in Guatemala City. “The father was holding him and he was just a mess. So I went out and got the mother, and we gave Dad a break.” The nurse turned back to Rodrigo, who two hours earlier had undergone a cleft lip repair and an ear-tube...

Read More

The Team

Pictured: (nearly) the entire Austin Smiles team Not pictured: volunteer photographer Kris Kennedy Photo by (you guessed it!) Kris Kennedy

Read More

A Well-Deserved Break

Leilani Briseno didn’t get injured, but after working as a scrub tech while also serving as Medical Missions Director, she did get tired enough to take a break in a wheelchair. Photo by Kris Kennedy

Read More

Sister Act

From pre-op care to post-op care, nurses (and sisters) Carrie Bailey (right) and Pearl Falkenberg tended to dozens of patients and their families during the weeklong mission. Photo by Kris Kennedy

Read More

Esteban Smiles, Por Supuesto

Speaking English without even a trace of an accent, Guatemalan volunteer Esteban Flores taught several Austin Smiles volunteers that the word “indeed” translates as “por supuesto.” Here, Esteban, who plans to attend Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn., next year, shows off a tattoo design that he created and intends to have placed on his chest. Photo by Kris Kennedy

Read More