It is hard to say what day “day one,” really is. Today is our first post, but yesterday was the longest day of all. It was the day of travel and running to plane connections and stress and sleep deprivation to reach the first flights arriving at 4 AM in most locations.  Travel day is a feat in itself. Like headwaters all over North America becoming a flow that meets the ocean.  Starting in little head water streams and creeks from New York, and Billings Montana, Columbus and Cincinnati and Dayton Ohio, from Portland Oregon, and Los Angeles California, from Boston and Washington D.C. and Charleston South Carolina, Dallas and Fort Lauderdale, Boone North Carolina and Raleigh, all these streams and creeks flowed into rivers of people flying on Delta and Southwest and United and American Airlines to meet at the Ocean in Belize City Belize. After over 100,00 air miles, the 56 people and over one hundred bags came through customs  and out into the humid hot sun of Belize. There were countless near missed connections and mini miracles (like gate agents who gave thousands in free luggage to us) to amazingly gather us all from across the US and Victoria Brittish Columbia too. We made it! A long van ride with six vans loaded to the top with tired travelers and heavy luggage made its way to Tonys Hotel and Beach Resort located below Corozal on the Carribean Bay. There at Tony’s  is where we had our first dinner and a short orientation and sub group meetings. There are three couples staying at rooms also at a hotel newly built next door (so new not sure of the name as yet- we are the first guests). But, all 24 rooms at Tonys are full of our team. Forty are returning volunteers and 16 are new to the trip which began its historical trip headwaters in 2004 when a group of 23 came to Northern Belize. Now we are the first week of three weeks that will see 170 volunteers serve for a week.  “This is so amazing to be able to get us all here and organize it all,” said Dr. John Dreslin, Urologist from Vermont who is coming to serve as a general evaluation doctor on the Village Team. His comment  matches that of so many doctors and nurses who want to serve in countries where the need is great, but who are afraid it will not be well organized. Not nearly organized enough to truly practice in a helpful way. And he is just beginning to see how organized and effective it has become with the help of local partners 15 years in the making. This is a trip organized year round, that culminates in a week of seeing thousands of patients, performing nearly one hundred surgeries and changing the life of one family with a new home. Dr. Dreslin travels with nurse Robert Ljungren and a van full of medical practitioners to one of two hospitals in Belize, Corozal Hospital where team members will evaluate potential surgical patients for surgery in ENT or hands on Saturday, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Dr. Sajia, in charge of health care for half of Belize pictured with some of surgery team