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Operation Smile Mission to Linyi, China    April 2002

In April 2002 I quit my full-time job to spend a year doing travel photography and studying Mandarin. I was extremely fortunate to be invited by Operation Smile to participate in their mission to Linyi, which is in Shandong province in China - halfway between Beijing and Shanghai.

52-photo slideshow
(Above: Tao Hua just before surgery.)
My seven favourite photos
(Above: Two days later.)

Operation Smile is an international charity dedicated to providing free reconstructive surgery and ongoing care to children with facial deformities in developing countries. Based in Norfolk, Virginia (USA), this year they celebrate their 20th anniversary.

Volunteers from Canada, Colombia, Italy, Norway, the Philippines, Singapore and the United States worked with the Chinese medical team at Linyi People's Hospital for a week, repairing the split lips and cleft palates of 186 children.

While I did not know what to expect, I knew I would be taking a lot of pictures. As the trip's official photographer, I brought twice as much film as I would normally pack for an assignment of this duration.

I had almost finished it by the second day.

(Luckily I could buy more!)

Should you wish to obtain prints of any of these images, or a CD with even more images than are on this site, then please contact Leila Hemaidan, International Communications, Operation Smile. Her email is leilah@operationsmile.org or you can phone +1 757 321 3262. For general information on Operation Smile, please contact Lisa Jardanhazy on +1 757 321 7645.