This morning we ate a huge and tasty breakfast in the hotel, and then walked a block or so via a pedestrian bridge to the Vincente Sotto Medical Center where we'll be working for the next week. A couple of young kids, dusty with dirt, slept in the middle of the overhead walkway, oblivious of the thousands of commuters who sidestepped their sad little bodies with barely a glimpse.
The Medical Center was busy with immaculately dressed young and pretty nurses in gleaming white starched uniforms, closely watched by sundry sick and wounded sitting on hard stools in overcrowded waiting rooms. We went through the drills to become familiar with the many rooms we shall be using over the next week. Some went to be received by the governor of the province, others walked back and forth through the hot and humid buildings to determine the easiest route to transfer patients. An elevator was out of order, so the normally easy route would have to be altered. The remainder of the team unpacked the many large boxes full of medical supplies packed in San Francisco, and then set up the operating rooms. The buildings were erected in 1946 by the Japanese, and had that tired and neglected appearance that comes with age and lack of care. Everywhere, though, we were greeted with "Good Mornings" and enormous smiles. A few babies with cleft lips were seen throughout the grounds and inside the hospital, perhaps hoping to be included on the long list of patients to be operated on.
Sharron and a few of us were driven to the Clinic by one of the local Rotarians to sort out the procedure for vetting the patients tomorrow. The building is being loaned to the project by the Sian Tian Temple. It's a small but spectacular Chinese temple decorated with giant Ming vases, and surrounded by beautiful Bonsai trees and gardens. A laughing Buddha seated in front of an intricately carved wooden altar, greets you as you enter. The nearby rooms we will be using for the clinic are air-conditioned, and although small, should be adequate for the job. The printers and cameras were located, and all is set to go for the big day tomorrow.