Sad but looking forward to moving on, we had a little time to sleep in this morning, check out, and wind up any outstanding details. After the group photo above, we headed for the airport. We said all our goodbyes to Claudia, our energetic interpreter, Dr. Diana Correra, the doctor in charge of the government program with whom Rotaplast partnered for this mission, and her sidekick Alexandra Alvarez, and all the hotel staff that cared for us each day. Tears, hugs, the whole empanada.
When we arrived at the airport, guess who met us! Dr. Diana, little Valentina and her mother! And all these signs expressing their appreciation for us.
We couldn’t have been more surprised or pleased. The Army then directed us to a nice, cool waiting room, where the General showed up to thank us. Speeches, handshakes, photos, tears again. Check out the beautiful plaque given to us!
And we gave them this one!
We boarded our return army helicopter. The chopper held 19 of us, several crew, all our baggage and 12 huge supply boxes being returned to Rotaplast in San Francisco. Lift off went smooth as silk!
Women’s Chopper Squad.
We enjoyed a smooth but loud flight back to Medellin where we experienced some cool, much appreciated weather at 7,000 feet. While we were waiting for the bus for the next leg, we ran into a soldier with his team of beautiful narcotic-sniffing dogs during the lull. Since the dogs work in teams, they have to be socialized with each other and humans two hours per day. Always sniffing, they didn’t have much time for us!
A couple of buses and short drive later, we arrived at the home of a Rotarian, where the Rotary Club of Medellin held a special meeting to welcome, honor and thank us. It was a difficult photo opportunity but they rolled out the red carpet for us with food, wine and genuine hospitality. Again, Dr. Diana and now the General showed up. They flew from Apartado, on the sly, and appeared here in Medellin. Another nice surprise!
Anne and the Secretary of Health for the region.
Tired after a long day, we bussed to our hotel, got a few winks and piled onto the bus again about 6 am. Our journey was over. Again, goodbyes, tears, new adventures coming up for some and anticipating our regular lives being a welcomed feeling. We did great work for others and now we must take care of our own!
It has been my pleasure to be with you for this mission! Good night, and good luck!