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The Gift

By Phil Borges
The Gift
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Review by Allison Martin

The Gift is a beautifully crafted photo documentary of the volunteer work of surgeons, doctors, nurses and anesthesiologists of Interplast as they treat facial anomalies, burns and birth defects in Vietnam and Peru. The thoughtful essays of the medical volunteers bring these long and arduous days to life. Phil Borges' outstanding photographs capture some of the most intimate moments in stark detail. The bravery and compassion demonstrated by the parents seeking treatment for their children is sure to touch your heart.

The Gift provides an enthralling and uplifting glimpse into the lives and devotion of the families in Vietnam and Peru who come to the center with hope for their children. For example, Phil Borges explains, that "the fathers in Vietnam are always there, always involved," as he photographs three Vietnamese fathers tenderly holding their young boys, in a tangle of IV's. In another photograph, a burn scarred little Peruvian girl gently tucks her dolls in for the night. An attending pediatrician recalls, "We came by on evening rounds and here was Ester, tucking her dolls into a spare bed, assuring them that the next day would be all right. This seven-year-old orphan, entirely alone of the eve of her surgery, attending to her loved ones ... it really moved me."

Anyone who appreciates excellent photography and compassionate works will find this book entrancing. The Gift is especially informative and touching for parents involved in adoption of a child with cleft or in adoption from Vietnam or Central and South American.

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