Formerly conjoined twins separated in Australia return home to Bhutan
Conjoined Bhutanese twin sisters Nima and Dawa walk holding hands with their mother Bhumchu Zangmo, right, older sister Ugyen Choden, center, and father Sonam Tshering outside a monastery on the outskirts of Thimphu, Bhutan, Thursday, March 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Karan Gurung)
THIMPU, Bhutan -- Two formerly conjoined Bhutanese twin girls arrived home Thursday after being separated in an operation in Australia, sparking joy when their family saw them walking independently.
Twenty-month-old Nima and Dawa returned to Bhutan after a 22-hour flight from Melbourne with their mother, four months after their operation. The girls had been joined at the torso and shared a liver.
Barely controlling his emotions, their father, Sonam Tshering, said it was like a miracle. He took them from the airport to a monastery to light a lamp in prayer.
The girls were separated by a team of 25 surgeons, nurses and anesthetists in an operation in early November at Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital that lasted almost six hours.
They recovered after the operation at a retreat run by the Children First Foundation, the charity that brought them to Australia.
"They're much the same as when they were together. We've got one that's very much more outgoing and one that's very placid. Nima is the outgoing and Dawa is the more placid," Debbie Pickering of the Children First Foundation said at the airport in Melbourne on Wednesday before the twins left for Bhutan.
"They are just developing into beautiful little girls. They are delightful in every way," she said.