Just after being born with a bilateral cleft lip and palate, baby Marium, perhaps only a day old, was abandoned on a public bus. She was discovered by some passengers, and then the police placed her in an orphanage in Myamanshingh, Bangladesh. The orphanage has been run for the past 56 years by Rev. Eugene Homrich, a Holy Cross Priest from the USA. The orphanage also has a small clinic in a village for childbirth and snake bites, and as a safe hideout for pregnant girls, muslim, hindu, and tribal.
A good friend of Dr Hasan Sarwar, Dr Shah Alam Talukder, a paediatric Surgeon in Myamansingh Medical College Hospital who works voluntarily for this orphanage, brought Marium to the Aussi Bangla Smile team at the Jibon Tari floating Hospital which was then about two hours travel from the orphanage.
At the time of her operation, Marium was nearly five months old. Due to her deformity, she was unable to eat properly. She was anaemic, malnourished, and weighed only 4kg. These factors placed Marium at risk from anaesthesia, however without surgery her condition would not have improved. Aussi Bangla Smile team anaesthetists, Dr Erika Agius and Dr Steve Cooper, made special preparations. The operation was performed by Dr Sarwar. Post-operative recovery was uneventful, and the next morning Marium looked very happy and began smiling which captured everyone’s hearts.
Team Leader Judy Barlow and the rest of the team were so moved that they decided to sponsor Marium up to the age of 10. Ten team members immediately donated AU$360 (27,720 Taka) for one year’s expenditure on milk and other needs. Rev. Homrich was very happy to hear that the Aussi Bangla Smile team members have sponsored Marium. He wrote:
“She looks beautiful after repairs and I will have her adopted in a Muslim family when her palate is repaired. Many thanks for taking care of Marium. A good Garo family took her to Birishiri yesterday,. I’ll have her adopted legally when she is older. She is very intelligent. The family is childless and will do a good job raising the child. I gave her Tk.10,000 for milk and will give the balance when I get it. We get pregnant, unmarried girls in our little Bethany Clinic here and we give the babies according to the religion of the mother thru the Courts. I’ll send the baby for repairs next year. This is a beautiful project…please thank all for their help…Sincerely, Rev. Eugene E. Homrich, CSC”
The 2011 team performed a total of 115 operations bringing the grand total for Aussi Bangla Smile to 421 so far. Each of these cases has its own story, Marium’s is just one full of pathos and joy and hope for the future.
Thank you for all your support without which we could not do this work.
Leave a reply