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Editor's note: Retired Longview surgeon Dr. Joe Clawson and a group of volunteers left April 2 for Zimbabwe to conduct 80 facial surgeries in two weeks. It’s the third trip to Africa for Clawson’s Operation of Hope organization, which also has led missions to Ecuador for 20 years.

Dr. Clawson has agreed to contribute journal entries to tdn.com. We’ll post the journal entries as they arrive. To view The Daily News’ April 3 article about Operation Hope and the current mission, click here.

Monday, April 7

It has been a challenge to get on the Internet here. I find the transmitting facility here is so poor that I can’t seem to get much through easily.

On Sunday, April 6th we had a large turnout of patients from all over the southern part of Africa with about 250 patients showing up.

These people are so poor and desperate, many coming long distances, as far away as South Africa and Tanzania. Out of this group we scheduled 60 patients, mostly children for surgery. It appears that there will be many more coming in during our two-week mission.

Sometime today I will try to see if I can transmit some photos but it is a real challenge as compared to doing e-mail at home.

Kindly,

Joseph

Tuesday, April 8

Am having some difficulty in sending mail.

Have finished up doing two days of surgery amounting to 16 surgeries.

All is going well. More and more children keep coming in. So many are children of 8-10 years of age. Can you imagine your child living through the first four years in school with such deformities? But that is the way it is here in Zimbabwe and many other countries as well.

My son Stephen is with me and he is going to try to send you some pictures today. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.

Thanks,

Joseph

Monday, April 14
Our surgical mission here in Harare, Zimbabwe Africa is going well with three more days of surgery to go. So far we have done 45 cases and will finish up doing 79 cases. Most of the patients are small children but a few others are adolescents and sometimes adults born with or dealing with various types of facial deformities.
In spite of all the bad news you are hearing from the various news source, this country remains peaceful. We are enjoying our time and work here.

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