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Old 23-03-2009, 13:06   #1
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Anyone Currently in San Blas Islands ?

We are trying to contact a Kuna family whose little girl has a cleft lip. Arrangements have been made to have the little girl helped by Operation Smile.

Anyone currently in the San Blas area willing to help in tracking down the family please send me a private email giving info on best way to contact you. I will forward that information to the persons coordinating the search.
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Old 23-03-2009, 14:25   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gosstyla View Post
We are trying to contact a Kuna family whose little girl has a cleft lip. Arrangements have been made to have the little girl helped by Operation Smile.

Anyone currently in the San Blas area willing to help in tracking down the family please send me a private email giving info on best way to contact you. I will forward that information to the persons coordinating the search.
Unfortunately, there's no wifi service in the San Blas. Cruisers there only have email using SSB/HAM/Satellite.

If you post or PM me your email address, I could forward your message to some cruisers I know are there.

Also, tell us where in the San Blas (which island or village) the girl is located.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 24-03-2009, 05:00   #3
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Good luck in your search, and for a good outcome !!!
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Old 24-03-2009, 06:37   #4
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send a short email message to me and I will forward it to a newsgroup that almost every cruiser in that area subscribes to.

Please keep message short because of SSB reception.
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Old 24-03-2009, 07:17   #5
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Bradley, Jedi, and all: Below is the information you should forward, if the length will permit. Feel free to contact me directly by email - I also have photos of the family, and a chart showing their island that I can send to anyone that has the bandwidth. - Larry Knight: LarryKnight71@yahoo.com

We are trying to contact a Kuna family whose little girl has a cleft lip. Arrangements have been made to have the little girl helped by Operation Smile.

Operation Smile has not been able to locate the girl's family, and is asking for help from cruisers to find her - and quickly. We first met this girl and her family while anchored in the Holandes Cayes in the San Blas in Sept 2008. The family was living on the small island located at 9 deg 34.7 min N, 78 deg 48.4 min W, just south of Banedup island.

We need a cruiser boat to find this family, and tell them that Operation Smile wants to help their girl, free of charge. You should also get the name of the girl, and her parents names, and their phone number (yes, this Kuna family had a cell phone with them when we met them). You should forward that information to me at LarryKnight71@yahoo.com.

Also, if you find the family, give them contact information of Operation Smile (below).

Below is a dialogue to use in speaking with ANY Kuna family you meet in the area to help find the family (reproduced in English and Spanish)

(English)
We are looking for the family of a girl who has a cleft lip who lives
near here. There is an organization in Panama called Operation Smile
that would like to talk to the family about getting free surgical
help for the girl. This organization performs surgeries to repair
cleft lips, free of charge.

Operation Smile will perform surgeries in May from the 16th to the
23rd. It is important that the family talk to Operation Smile as soon
as possible if they would like to get help for their daughter.

The family should contact Miss Maluz Morena at Operation Smile in
Panama at:
Cell Phone 6580-6093
Office: 232-7405, or 232-7406 or 232-7040

************************************************** *******************************************
Correct Spanish translation, courtesy of Maluz Moreno of Operation Smile in Panama:

Estamos buscando a la familia de una niña con labio hendido o labio leporino
que vive cerca de aqui. Hay una organización en Panama llamada Operación
Sonrisa y les gustaria hablar con la familia para darle una cirugía gratis
para ayudar a la niña. Esta organización realiza cirugías para reparar
labios hendidos, sin ningún costo.

Operación Sonrisa realizara las cirugías en Mayo del 16 al 23. Es
importante que la familia hable con Operación Sonrisa lo mas pronto posible
si ellos desean obtener ayuda para su hija.

La familia deberá contactar a la Srta. Maluz Moreno en Operación Sonrisa
Panama al:
Celular: 6580-6093
Oficina: 232-7405, 232-7406, 232-7040.
************************************************** ***************************************
Additional dialogue that might be useful to those not well versed in Spanish:

English: What is your name?
Spanish: Como se llama usted?

English: What is the girl's name?
Spanish: Como se llama la muchacha?

English: What is the name of the mother of the girl?
Spanish: Como se llama la madre de la muchacha?

English: What is the name of the father of the girl?
Spanish: Como se llama el padre de la muchacha?

English: What is your telephone number?
Spanish: Cual is su numero de telefono?

(if they no longer have a phone)
English: Do you have a friend that has a telephone?
Spanish: Tiene usted un amigo que tiene un telefono?

English: What is the telephone number of your friend?
Spanish: Cual es el numero del telefono de su amigo?

English: Can you write it down for me?
Spanish: Puede escribirlo para mi?
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Old 24-03-2009, 10:23   #6
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It seems that there are a few boats in the area of the San Blas now. Anyone know how to get the message to any of them?

Alaya: YOTREPS Offshore Reports
At Last: YOTREPS Offshore Reports
Evergreen: YOTREPS Offshore Reports
Barrie: YOTREPS Offshore Reports
INFINI: YOTREPS Offshore Reports
Sawadi: YOTREPS Offshore Reports
Bruadair: YOTREPS Offshore Reports
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Old 24-03-2009, 16:02   #7
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Reg and Debby on Runner are permanently moored there. Unfortunately, we don't know their email nor phone number.

Anyone have that?

I did forward to others in the area.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 24-03-2009, 17:07   #8
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Correction to Coordinates of Island

I made a mistake in posting the coordinates of the island where the girl with the cleft lip lives.

The correct coordinates are:
Lat: 9 deg 34.7 min N
Lon: 78 deg 40.4 min W

Sorry for the error and the confusion it may have caused in my prior posting.
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Old 27-03-2009, 00:21   #9
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Great news on Kuna girl with cleft lip

Great news today from S/V Alaya !

Bob and Debbie Anderson aboard S/V Alaya report via sailmail that the Kuna girl with the cleft lip that Operation Smile has been searching for has been found!!

The family had moved to another island, but several boats got the word out by radio nets, talked to the Kuna on the island where I last saw her, and tracked her down.

We now know the little girl's name is Rena Gonzalez.

The family of the girl now has the Operation Smile contact information in Panama, and I will be contacting Operation Smile in Panama today to ask them to call the family personally (the island where they are now has two pay telephones).

Many, many, thanks to those who helped out, particularly:

James Fahlbusch, formerly aboard S/V Electric Leopard
Randy Catlin, formerly of S/V Nighthawk
Bob & Debbie Anderson aboard S/V Alaya
Barrie aboard S/V Passat II
Ted Gosstyla, formerly of S/V Asanagi
Jim Eddy, formerly aboard S/V Electric Leopard
Bill aboard S/V Taku Tori
Michael aboard S/V Infini

(I am sure more boats and folks participated, but I do not know who you are!)

and thanks most of all ...

to the still unknown (to me) boat and crew that actually found the girl (if it was not S/V Alaya).

Great job, all. Operation Smile in Panama has tried very hard for 4 months to find this girl. With the help of all of you, we got it done in 4 days. Well done!

Will post more news as I get it.

I'd buy you all a round of Ron Abuelo 7 when we meet (and a bottle goes to the boat that actually found Rena) !
Larry Knight
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Old 27-03-2009, 05:45   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lknight View Post
Great news today from S/V Alaya !
... Bob and Debbie Anderson aboard S/V Alaya report via sailmail that the Kuna girl with the cleft lip that Operation Smile has been searching for has been found!!
... We now know the little girl's name is Rena Gonzalez.
... Many, many, thanks to those who helped out, particularly:
... Great job, all. Operation Smile in Panama has tried very hard for 4 months to find this girl. With the help of all of you, we got it done in 4 days. Well done!
... Will post more news as I get it.
Larry Knight
Thanks to gosstyla for first bringing this situation to our attention, to all those who helped locate Rena, and to Larry Knight for coordinating the successful efforts.

I’m SO pleased and proud that our CruisersForum community, all the named & unnamed individuals, and Operation Smile* have been able to make our world a little better place, and hopefully will result in an improved life for Rena. You’ve made my week, folks!

Thanks for this very marvellous news Larry, and please do keep us informed.

* Operation Smile (“changing lives one smile at a time”) mobilizes a world of generous hearts to heal children’s smiles and transform lives across the globe. Our network of volunteers works worldwide to repair childhood facial deformities including cleft lips and cleft palates.
Goto:
Changing Lives One Smile at a Time Through Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Surgery - Operation Smile

***

In the same vein, I direct your attention to Soft Air’s remarks at:
http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...ber-24875.html

With gratitude and very best regards,
Gord
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Old 27-03-2009, 20:12   #11
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Heather aboard S/V Legacy ROCKS!

Friday night update:

Just heard back from S/V Alaya. They relate that it was Heather aboard S/V Legacy who actually found the girl, and not S/V Alaya themselves. S/V Alaya helped with the radio relays, and they have been great in communicating back here. Well, both boats have earned a bottle of Ron Abuelo 7 from me.

Heather personally spoke to the mother of the girl that I was searching for, and gave her the Operation Smile information in Panama. The Congreso Secretary on the island helped Heather find the girl that I had met.

I also sent Operation Smile in Panama all this information last night, and have received two emails from them today. They have already successfully called the island where the family now lives. (But, on their first call, they did not reach the family or Congreso Secretary, but at least they have established communication with the island).

And, the news gets better. Evidently Heather also found a second girl with a cleft lip while searching for "our" Kuna girl, and has put that family in touch with Operation Smile in Panama as well. We have a " twofer " !!

So, a huge thank you goes to Heather and S/V Legacy for doing the final leg of the search. Well, well done!

Larry
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Old 27-03-2009, 20:37   #12
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Report these Cruisers!!

I suggest someone report these cruisers to SSCA, perhaps by writing an article for the Commodores' Bulletin. Not only do they richly deserve the recognition but just as importantly it will surely serve as inspiration to others. God knows in these days and times we need all the inspiration we can get!! I personally salute all those involved.
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Old 28-03-2009, 07:57   #13
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Account of final contact

I just found that Heather and Chris of S/V Legacy posted a blog of their account of finding the Kuna girl. I have reproduced it below. These cruisers answered the call for help, and found another girl to help in the process. Hats off to Legacy! A well earned bottle of Abuelo 7 to you when you are stateside. - Larry

************************************************** ***********

We started off the day with a good deed in Niadup. Yesterday morning there had been a request on the morning net to try and contact the parents of child in the Holandes Cays whom an agency in Panama City had scheduled for cleft palate surgery. This morning the folks who had gone there reported that the family had gone to Niadup and requested anyone nearby to pass along the message. Since we were one of the relatively few boats that visit there we headed back into shore, located German, the congreso secretary to try and pass the message. After much confusion and scratching of heads we headed off to what turned out to be the home of the wrong child (but did pass along the agency information to the mother there). That mother recognized that the name of the child had gotten garbled and we found the correct family and passed along the message. Good deed done we stowed the dinghy and headed for Cocos Banderos Cays. [Chris]

I'm still shaking my head about this wonderful cruiser network and the host of coincidences that led us to be in the right place to deliver this message! If we hadn't been next to Leu Cat in Shelter Bay, we probably never would have gone to Niadup to buy molas. Niadup probably only gets visited by cruising boats a couple of times a month. That we were there and already had contacts in the village added to the coincidence. The organization is "Operation Smile" and they will have doctors in Panama in May to perform cleft palate surgeries. I hope that the mother of the second little girl in Niadup will also be able to arrange for the surgery. I'm not sure how Operation Smile managed to find email addresses for several cruisers in the San Blas to help find the child, but everything worked out. [Heather]
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Old 31-03-2009, 20:07   #14
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I am going to San Blas in a few months and I will donate right now, thanks for your efforts.

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Old 06-04-2009, 14:59   #15
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Early April Update

Update:
Operation Smile now has successfully telephoned to the island of Niadup where the cleft lip Kuna girls live, and have now spoken directly to the families of both girls. Things are happening.

Also, another boat, not previously acknowledged, played a role in the hunt for the girl: Ami aboard S/V Tara Vana helped out in tracking the family to their new island. She and Heather aboard S/V Alaya were planning to go to the island in the Holandes where the girls were first met, when Ami was told by some local Kuna that the family had moved to Niadup. Ami and Heather then got the word out to the cruisers net, and this message eventually found its way to S/V Legacy, who found the girl(s) on Niadup.

So, thanks to Ami and all aboard S/V Tara Vana for their part in the hunt.
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