The Columbian - Saturday, November 29, 2008

Gay Smith has made many trips to Peru since starting Cafe Femenino with her husband, Garth, four years ago. This time, however, will be different.

In early December the Vancouver resident, who along with Garth owns the commercial coffee importing business Organic Products Trading Co., will travel to Chiclayo, Peru, with a team of doctors, nurses and volunteers from the Portland-based Foundation of Cleft Education and Services.

The surgeons will perform 20 to 25 procedures on the children and family members of women who produce the Cafe Femenino brand of coffee.

The Cafe Femenino Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed by the Smiths that provides social, educational and economic aid to women's groups in the eight countries where Cafe Femenino coffee is made, will pay for the patients' transportation to the medical facility and their lodging.

The doctors are volunteering their services and will do cleft lip and palette surgeries, as well as surgeries to minimize the appearance of scars from dog bites, burns and flesh-eating microorganisms. Smith, 62, said the surgeries will greatly improve the patients' health and overall quality of life.

"It truly is a life-changing thing," she said.

Bits 'n' Pieces appears Mondays and Fridays. If you have a story you'd like to share, call Features Editor Elisa Williams, 360-735-4561, or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..