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January 19th

It is currently 3:00pm on Sunday afternoon and this is the first opportunity to let you all know how the trip is going.

Everyone arrived safely in the wee hours of Saturday morning. All in all it was about a 30 hour journey from door to door. Arriving in Mumbai (Bombay) we made our way in the darkness to Daman where our lodging is. We were astounded at the amount of traffic so late (or early as the case was). Hundreds of cars and brightly colored trucks traveling at break neck speed through the darkness flashing their headlights and tooting their horns. Without horns, we are sure they would not be able to drive at all.

After breakfast and a very short rest, we headed to the hospital where we were met by the Board of Directors and other executives as though we were rock stars. They had a very short and humbling welcome ceremony for us and we rolled up our sleeves and got to work.

The supply room was whipped into order within a couple hours and the surgeons screened patients. We learned that 1,300 patients were pre-screened by the doctors here before our arrival and they had worked that number down to 350 viable candidates. So much need, so few resources!!

Our surgeons had to turn several patients away for a variety of reasons – – Safety, lack of post surgical care, sparse resources such as equipment and supplies. One little boy comes to mind that I was in the room when Dr. Shapiro examined him. This child had a hemangioma in the left side of his face that showed by CAT scan that it had already infiltrated his sinus cavity. This child will die from this if he does not receive treatment very soon (a week to 10 days). This surgery needs to be done in a more sophisticated hospital and/or he needs radiation. Our sponsors are calling and trying to find out if there is anything that we can do for him. It really is heart-breaking to know these situations exist in abundance around the world.

The good news, is we have a full schedule today and general surgery, ENT, plastics, OB/GYN are working like crazy. This pace will continue for the next 5 days. A group of old friends and new have come together as though we have all been working together for years and are now a tight, bonded team.

I am having some issues with photo technology, but am hoping to have that resolved in the next 24 hours, so please check back for pictures and more news.

Thanks for checking in and we’d love to hear from you!

–Cheryl

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