Friday was a busy day. Up at 5 AM to ride to the border, only one person made the trip, as it was pouring down rain. Coffee was out at 6 AM with breakfast at 6:30 AM. The Teams split up to screen at both Orange Walk and Corozal. By late afternoon, several doctors were back from Corozal patient screening, and adapting to the beauty of Tony’s Inn. Most of us feel almost a little guilty staying at a place that is so pretty and well suited beyond what most missions would use for housing. Over the years, we find that having a place with safe food and a chance to recharge nightly is really important to the team.
The days are long at the hospital and in the clinics, with very little “down time.” The joke is to ask new people if they brought a book to read. Those of us who have been here before know that there is no time to be reading a new book. It is hard to find the time to read the short daily devotions that are so well written. Friday afternoon, the surgery team returned very happy that they had a full schedule. In fact it is overly full. At the end of the day in Orange Walk, several patients were found that had paperwork referrals from the first week team of ENT surgeons. They were postponed due to having a cold, or a surgery need that better suited this third week team. It was important to try to add these cases. So, although the schedule was full already when they were found, we added even more cases. At the Saturday morning announcements, we introduced the last members of the team that arrived late. They were to come on Wednesday to help with advance set up, but due to the snow storm in Cincinnati, they were delayed until Friday. Our logistics team went to the airport while all the other activity was happening with those already in country. We talked Saturday morning about sponsoring students and how touching their stories were on Friday night. Many of the students hope to go into medicine and had the chance to sit and eat with our doctors and nurses. We had interviewed Dr. Nadia Friday night at the dinner party, and she explained that she has been in school 27 years (if you include kindergarten and her residency). We encouraged the students to make the most of their ordinary days in hopes of having those few and far between extraordinary days. The Village Team reported Saturday morning, that all the medicines had been counted and that they organized the student gift bags we brought in suitcases from the US. Several new members talked about their first time experience so far. This was all a part of the breakfast announcements and discussion towards the end of breakfast. We are able to talk and meet in the morning, as we are up early and have the breakfast room and the entire 24 guest rooms all to ourselves at Tony’s Inn. Thus, this morning after announcements and a brief recap of yesterday and prayer, we loaded early for the hospital. The Surgery Team left at 7:30 AM for the hospital and began surgery at 8 AM. This is a record for our times in Belize. It is hard to get the rooms open and going that early as early is not normal this close to the equator. But, early days and long days will be the norm this week. The Village Team is off to Trial Farm Village with four overloaded vans.