High Energy for Hearing
February 18, 2020
Panama City, Panama is a natural wonder, replete with verdant vistas, white sandy beaches, and incredible biodiversity. The city is also a fusion of modern and colonial architecture that reflects the nation’s rich history. For centuries, Panama’s location and wondrous beauty made it ideal for settlers from around the world. As such, Panamanian society is built on cultural diversity and harmonious coexistence—a utopic location for our hearing mission.
Our mission in Panama City was during Carnaval, a celebration of Panamanian culture and traditions that takes place in the heart of the city. We served many grateful patients whose lives had been severely impacted by hearing loss. Our local partners, Marisa Canales, CEO of Instituto Panameño de Habilitación Especial (IPHE); Dr. Guillermo Rodriguez, Clinical Director of IPHE; Mario Hines, President of the Lion´s Club and members from the Club Chino-Panameño were on hand to help us serve over 375 patients and provide nearly 730 hearing aids. Carnaval framed our hearing missions perfectly—spreading joy and hope so the world may hear.
Amidst all the vibrant colors, dressed in a patterned ocher dress, Aitza Yolianis Villareal arrived at the site, accompanied by her mother. The shy teen had struggled her entire life with the negative effects of hearing loss and seemed to understand the significance of the moment. She sat quietly, observing other patients getting fit and watching our fitters work their magic with trepidation. Soon, it was her turn and Aitza was transformed—her joy boundless, her laughter infectious and her smile radiant. Her mother was overcome with emotion watching Aitza react to all the new sounds around her. It was a truly heart-warming scene that is all too common at our hearing missions. Aitza was in effect reborn—rediscovering her world from an entirely different perspective. She could now see the limitless possibilities that lay before her thanks to the life-changing gift of hearing.
Stories like this one and countless others that unfolded during the mission energize our teams and keep us determined to help as many people as possible reach their potential and improve their lives.
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