Taslima’s wide eyes look up from her drawing to absorb her surroundings. She does not speak much but when asked about her favorite things, her little whisper and big smile kindle a glimpse into this little girl’s world. She giggles when describing the chickens and cows she saw from the window on the long trip to Mercy Hospital. She likens her trip to an exciting wild safari with throngs of people, rickshaws, buses, and tall buildings. At nine years old, Taslima is getting ready for her second cleft palate surgery.
So far, the slight deformity on her face has not affected her social life. One day, however, society might not be so kind. Often children in India with deformities are treated like outcasts in their community and among peers. Mercy Hospital makes every effort to perform cleft palate surgeries on children at a young age to guard against ill treatment and prepare the way for speech therapy.