Britches & Dolls – A Special Gift

On many recent missions, our team has been able to take along handcrafted dresses, britches, and dolls for the children who visit our clinic. These fine items are sewed with love by residents in The Villages, a retired adult living community in Florida, USA.

In a July 2017 mission to Shaime, Ecuador, Dr. Geelhoed records in his journals how the young students on the trip were put in charge of distributing the handmade gifts to the local children and the joy that was felt by both sides as a result of this exchange. We are so grateful to our supporters in The Villages that contribute to the medical mission through these loving gifts. While our team provides healing surgical care, these gifts help form a bond between the foreign team members and the local patients who we serve.


– Before the mission –

I intend to make a committee of Devin, Jordan, Colby, and Koi to inventory and then distribute to the children of our clinics and villages the wonderful dolls, pillowcase dresses, and the britches for boys that have come from our great volunteer ladies in The Villages and at the Long Island and Michigan sources that are hand-making these for distribution from the goodness of their hearts – real contributors to each mission.

From my own bag I pulled out and have then re-packed the marvelous items from the women of The Villages in Florida and those working in Long Island and elsewhere.

We have here the premium dolls from The Villages. Each is nestled in a little “bolsa,” a bag which contains two further items: one is a hand crocheted blanket – at least a hundred precious hours of caring and loving work. The second is a doll, most often a brown-faced doll. She will have a frilly dress and will be the kind that needs to be “adopted” and not just thrown around as a rag doll. On her sleeve is a note which announces the doll’s name and where she comes from – the Women of The Villages in Florida, USA; and it is knit at this special time with every good wish and hope for them. These go well beyond language, be it Spanish or Shuar.


– During the mission –

The people here are very grateful for our presence. My twins are right now in the center of a group of kids and they have invented a new game. As I had packed up the M2H bags, Fred Graham-Yool had circled around the bags and dropped a few new golf balls into each one of them as his contribution to our stuff for kids. The game is a bucket and each kid is to toss the golf ball into the bucket for a “Hole-in-One.” They are having fun with an outside contribution of a golf ball or two. Almost every kid here now has a pillowcase dress, and we may have run short of the britches for boys, but there is a very high demand for the premium item of the beautiful handmade dolls.


– After the mission – 

Without any doubt, the biggest hit by far was the arrival of pillowcase dresses for the girls, the britches for boys, and above all, the purpose-made dolls from the Ladies of The Villages in Florida for the children who had no visible playthings – these distributed with great celebrations by our junior team members.



We want to say a hearty thank-you to the volunteers who have devoted their time and energy to creating these items as free gifts for our patients. To get involved with this effort, contact