As anticipated it was a long trip; emphasis on the long. First there was the early arrival at the airport for a group check in with mega luggage, in the likes of which I have never seen! It was crazy as they had “lost” our flight from Miami to Port Au Prince. It was quite a stagnate line for the better part of an hour and we grew a bit antsy but eventually it was sorted out.
Which lead to goodbyes and I was very touched to have a surprise visit from our daughter. There was even a funny and touching text from our son.
We managed security work or any hitches and even had time for a brew. We got a group photo and had almost lost someone then so decided we should implement a partner system. Many hit post on Facebook and Twitter plus last minute phone calls occurred.
Then the wait for the first flight when everyone was all revved and ready to go. It wasn’t a long flight to Las Vegas and one that many of them team had done before. It was my first trip to there but we spent the whole time clearing customs and then dropping the mega over sized bags back on the carousal. That part went surprisingly smoothly considering all the crazy stuff we had with us.
Then just a mere 4 1/2 more hours in the air for the flight to Miami. Of course it seemed like more than four hours and according to the clock we left at 2205 and arrived at 0545 so it seems like more than four. But wait I already said that. It was obvious the revved was gone and we are now on empty from too many hours in airports and airplanes. Then finally the giddy that goes with long hours returned as we boarded the final leg and prepared to arrive in Port Au Prince.
Our onboard movies were a no show but on that final leg a Haitian woman provided some entertainment when her fear of flying had her lying over and clutching one of our young debonair orthopaedic surgeons. He was quite gracious about the whole thing.
The final arrival was just as chaotic as anticipated. People, bags, noise and a tired but excited crew. The first thing that hits you is the heat. Followed by the dozens of Haitians standing around watching this huge team of “Blancs”hit the road. There were oh’s and ah’s over the mangoes in the side of the road.
The trip in was soon over as the hospital is quite close to the airport. There was an impression of colour and chaos. We were lucky to have a guide, a video photographer who has worked with National Team Broken Earth. I’m super excited to work with Travis as he will document the quilt story along with many other aspects of our week.
The two hour orientation and tour was overwhelming on a dehydrated brain running on 20 mins of sleep. It was followed by some down time that I spent hanging out on the roof top while trying to update the blog. It was quite unsuccessful at that time and I have now switched devices. We followed up our free time with a team meeting to finalize our plan for the next two days and then did a small amount of organizing of a few supplies for the clinics tomorrow. After a supper out it will be an early night for me of sure (if I ever get these photos and the post to upload!!)
As an update, as a few of us journal and catch up on social media, one of the orthopaedic surgeons in down in the ER dealing with a minor injury and then going to “guest” scrub on a patient that can’t wait until our regular OR times on Monday. I think we all rather envy him as he plunges in. Having said that I totally understand why we don’t see patients today as the tired factor has hit a pretty crazy high scale.