The Cebu 2008 Mission Team has arrived in Cebu City. The Philippine Airlines steward on the 747 flight from San Francisco to Manila noticed we were some kind of team (22 navy blazers, white shirts, and tan slacks or skirts do tend to stand out), and asked what it was all about. We were warmly welcomed over the PA system, with the steward giving a brief explanation of the work we were about to undertake in Cebu, which received a round of applause from fellow passengers. This set the tone for the fourteen-hour flight, which was, considering its length, a fairly comfortable trip. When we arrived in Manila, the airlines team packed together a couple of large bags of plane snackies for us to take to Cebu, a very nice touch indeed. A couple of hours in Manila, then we were on our way in an airbus to Cebu.
Let me tell you about the team. It consists of plastic surgeons, William McClure, of Napa, CA, Jed Horowitz of Huntington Beach, CA, Sibrand Schepel of the Netherlands, and Jitka, Vrtiskova of Prague. The anesthesiologists are Helen O'Keeffe Vajk of Walnut Creek, CA, Denise Bogard of Roseville, CA, Sarah James of Virginia Beach, VA, and Steven Lin of El Paso, TX. The pediatrician is Collin Yong of Vancouver, BC. The OR nurses are Sharron Newton of Slidell, LA, Victoria Leendertse of Phoenix, AZ, Paulette McHugh of Santa Rosa, CA, Sandra Swiatek of Downington, PA, and the recovery room nurses are Joanne Gillespie of Chester Springs, PA and Margaret Hopkins of Sacramento, CA. The dentist on the team is Natividad Gervasio of Manila, Philippines and the orthodontist is Rosario Mayro of Jenkintown, PA (previously from Manila). Non-medical team members are Rotarians Ken Funk, Mission Director, of Abbotsford, BC, Rosalie Wells, Assistant Mission Director, of West Grove, PA, Donald Heebner, Quartermaster, of Telfond, PA, Bent Harder, Patient Transfer Coordinator, of Comox, BC, Tricia Timmermans, Photojournalist of Victoria, BC, John Gillespie, Sterilizer, of Chester Springs, PA, Consuelo White, Medical Records Keeper of Port Angeles, WA, Marnee Obendorf, PACU Assistant, of Olympia, WA, and Vasanth Prabhu, Patient Ward Coordinator of Phoenixville, PA.
On arrival in Cebu City early morning, we were met by local Rotarians from the Cebu Rotary Club Port Center, our hosts for the mission. A bus transported us to the Midtown Hotel in the heart of Cebu City where we ate an excellent lunch and had our first formal meeting. Several members headed for the Lighthouse Restaurant for dinner, however a few of us found the time zone change and the heat and humidity more challenging, or just weren't hungry, and headed to bed for a good night's sleep.