Sunday, February 14, 2010

We're here, and the work is already beginning!

It was a very early morning yesterday, getting up at 5am to get to the airport on time.   Our 30+ team members met at the TACA counter to weigh all our bags and redistribute our items if needed.  We managed to fit almost all the donations of clothing, toys, etc. and the meds and our personal belongings into the four suitcases we were allowed to have, but we did have to move a few things around.  Unfortunately we had to leave behind some soap, it was adding just a bit too much weight.  We'll probably donate it somewhere at home.
We travelled with some interesting items: big dental cases, IVs, suture kits, blood pressure cuffs, syringes, as well as meds like anesthetic, creams, some high dose pain meds (narcotics), amoung other things.  Excitement was in the air as we got checked in and headed to the gate.  Security was fine, although Chris, who has done this about 5 times now, forgot to empty his pockets so he had to go through the scanner a number of times.  I, of course, went through the first time with no problem.  ;)
At the gate, we sat and chatted with everyone.  Some people meeting for the first time.  I had such a different feel about the trip this time.  I was so looking forward to it and since I knew what to expect, the anticipation was very different.  On the plane we switched seats around a bit so spouses could sit together.  Chris sat across the aisle from me and I shared a row with Jack and Michelle.  Jack is one of the dentists on our team.  Michelle, his wife, is a hygenist.  They're a great couple and Michelle and I had a wonderful conversation.  The flight lasted 4 hours and 20 minutes and was a bit bumpy on the way in to San Salvador.  Chris was sitting beside a mom and her little boy, about 18 months old.  He got sick on the way down.  Not so fun.  I really felt for her.
We arrived in San Salvador and after going through Immigration, getting our bags, and then going through Customs, we were out into the warm El Salvador weather!  It was beautiful and sunny.  We were met by the team from the El Salvador FTC office, two buses, and a police escort.  I'll have to get some photos of them later this week.  They actually stopped traffic for us on the way to our hotel.
Last night we had a meeting to chat about what the week will look like and then a very yummy dinner.  We have a separate room to house all our supplies and distribution items.  It's chock full of boxes of crocs, items to give away, medical supplies, food like vegetable soup mix and vitameal, and children's vitamins being stored in the bathroom.

That's Sonia in the photo, one of the two people in charge of distribution.
This morning, before we leave for the orphanage, we're are taking those vitamins and bagging them into packs of 30.  Linda, Lilly, and Dashina decided to start doing that work by the pool.  As I type this, almost the entire team is down there, bagging vitamins.
The cold I've been fighting all last week has settled into my nose and throat.  I'm hoping I don't pass it on to anyone and that it doesn't sap my energy like colds usually do to me.  Thank you for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers.
Until tomorrow,
God Bless.

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