Meet: Htat – 10 months old from Mandalay, Myanmar

Htat was born with a cleft lip and minor cleft palate, and because of his lip he could not breastfeed. His mother had to spoon-fed him milk instead, and as a result he was very skinny when he was younger. But now they buy powdered milk, and he has grown very fast. He is the youngest of four siblings, but his mother says he is the most active and persistent of them all. “If he wants something, he does not quit until he gets it”, she says.

The family found out about the mission from his mother’s brother, who had read about it on Facebook, and although they were a little worried, they were mostly just excited for their son to have a new smile. The whole family, including grandparents, came to the hospital to support Htat and his immediate family. Htat’s mother isn’t sure what could have caused her son’s condition, but superstition is quite strong in their hometown, and she mentions that she got a tooth pulled during pregnancy, and thinks that could have something to do with it. People are generally supportive and understanding, but some do wonder how he could be born with this condition, since the father in the family is a religious teacher.

We have never seen a more smiley child than Htat, and when we saw him at the checkup after his surgery, his family was extremely appreciative.