While clowns from Caring Clowns International visit the children’s hospital in Lima, Peru, they join up with a Lima-based clown organization called 3.16 Hospital Clowns. We were first introduced to the 3.16 Hospital Clowns in 2017 and formed an immediate connection. During this year’s medical mission to Lima, the two groups again joined forces, clowning together at the Instituto Nacional de Salud del Nino, children’s hospital.
The 3.16 Hospital Clowns started in 2015 as an element of the Emmanuel Bible Church art ministry. They formed after a connection with David Mata, a clown named POYOYO who had already been clowning at the Edgardo Rebagliati Hospital in Lima
“We love the comradery that’s grown between our two groups,” said Jed “Duffy” Selter, President of the Board and Executive Director of Caring Clowns International. “We support the 3.16 Hospital Clown’s efforts, bringing noses and balloons for them to use in their workshops and their hospital visits.”
By providing two clowning workshops a year, the group now has 40 members. They promote themselves through the 3.16PayasosDeHospital facebook page.
The all-volunteer group continues to clown at the Edgardo Rebagliati Hospital as well as the Instituto Nacional de Salud del Nino. In addition to the Saturday hospital visits, they unite with other groups in the community once a month to visit orphanages and shelters. Their focus is to service their neighbors – creating smiles and bringing happiness to those of all ages.
Founder of 3.16 Hospital Clowns POYOYO said, “We enjoy observing the different reactions from the children as they interact with the U.S. clowns. It’s clear the clowns don’t need to speak Spanish to be able to communicate because with your nose you can communicate with just a smile while absorbing oneself in a world of emotions.”
The number 3.16 in the group’s name comes from the bible verse John 3:16.
Four clowns from Caring Clowns International traveled with a team of 13 craniofacial surgeons, neurosurgeons, anesthesiologist and scrub techs to Lima, Peru where the medical team performed much needed surgeries.
Duffy, Flora, Flossy and Sparkles entertained many children, their families and the hospital staff at the 700-bed Instituto Nacional de Salud del Nino.
The US medical team members are all part of Komedyplast. They all volunteer their time and pay their own way to make these trips. They have completed over 210 surgeries; this is the group’s 13th mission to Peru.
Komedyplast is a one-of-a-kind nonprofit, because they focus on correcting complex facial anomalies, in addition to doing cleft lip and cleft palate corrections.
During the week, the surgeons performed 16 surgeries, many of which were full facial reconstructions requiring long seven to nine-hour surgeries.
The four clowns clowned all day our first Saturday there, during “screening day,” when the Doctors take a last look at kids for potential surgeries for the following week. While families are waiting, the clowns entertain the children and adults. Joining the Caring Clowns at screening day were newbie clowns Bubbles, Cupcake, Curlee and Red. The newbie clowns included the daughter of one of the members of Komedyplast as well as her friends.
This year, the U.S. Ambassador to Peru, Mr. Krishna Urs visited with the medical team and doctors during screening day. He was joined by several hospital and Peruvian health officials.
While the Doctors were in surgery, the clowns not only went bed-to-bed throughout the 700 bed children’s hospital but also spent time in the chemo unit and outside in the hospital courtyard.
The four video links below illustrate the positive impact clowning had for the children; you can see the joy in their faces and those of their parents. The four videos are:
The Surgeons and Medical Team
Click on the picture below for a brief recap of some of our activities during this past year, 2017. We have used visuals of some of our many gigs to help convey the fun of our “work,” and the joy it brings to others.
We also want to thank all of you who help us by way of clowning, support and donations. Your involvement is the reason we are able to continue to contribute.
The Caring Clowns International Board of Directors
THANK YOU to everyone who donated a toy!! Kidzz Helping Kidzz exceeded its goal by collecting 1677 new toys for three area hospitals. 8-year-old Zachary, his 3-year old-brother Noah and his parents had the pleasure of delivering the toys. A large U-Haul trailer was loaded up. Zachary was greeted with a warm welcome from David Schultz, CEO of Harrison Hospital and his Executive Leadership team. After bringing in the boxes of toys, Mr. Schultz presented Zachary with a framed “Certificate of Appreciation and Gratitude” and read him the following letter:
Dear Zachary, On behalf of Harrison Medical Center, I want to personally express my gratitude for your donation of toys for our youngest patients. Your dedication and tireless efforts to collect and share over 1500 toys is a wonderful testament to the kindness and compassion in your heart. You are an amazing young man, and truly a gift to our community. Our heartfelt thanks for your generosity, which will brighten the days ahead for our young patients and their families.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Prior to reading the letter, Mr. Schultz shared that when his daughter was young, she was in the hospital and received a toy that she still has today.
The toy-filled U-Haul then boarded the ferry to Seattle. While on the ferry, the Captain announced Zachary’s toy drive and how many toys were being delivered to the hospitals. Everyone cheered!
At Seattle Children’s Hospital, Zachary was greeted by news reporters from King 5, KOMO news and Q13 News. Zachary spoke of the importance of giving to others. Here’s a link to one of the interviews:
Following the interviews, the group got back in the truck and headed to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital. They were greeted by familiar faces who were there during last year’s toy delivery. While bringing in all the toys, the staff keep commenting on how they could not believe the wonderful quality of toys that were collected and the perfect timing of our delivery. They were having an event the next morning and had run out of toys to provide to the children. The 650 toys would more than cover the need!
LaLa, Flossy, Suze Sally Somarsall, Tiezee, Scooter and Sparkles had the honor of welcoming the USS Nimitz home to the Bremerton Naval Shipyard. What an experience!!! The clowns got teary watching the 1092-foot supercarrier turn into the bay with the crew standing at ease on the perimeter of the flight deck. There were thousands of families waiting on the dock for daddies and mommies to return home. The USS Nimitz left from Bremerton on June 1 for a six-month deployment and was part of a strike group that sailed more than 78,000 miles. All the little kids were so excited to have their parent home for Christmas. With a crew of 3,100 you can only imagine how many people were there to greet the crew and how many balloons animals were made!
One of our clowns, Sparkles is an Army brat. She said, “The flag is a major part of my life and what it means, freedom. Such an honor to watch the flag be raised as the ship was tied to the pier. Almost six hours of standing on our feet was well worth it seeing the Nimitz and seeing the families waiting for their loved ones is indescribable. This experience was definitely one of the top of my life.”
The USS Nimitz’s aircraft flew more than 1300 combat sorties into Iraq and Syria. She also participated in the Navy’s first tri-carrier exercise in the Western Pacific in a decade and in other joint exercises with allied nations.