Preparing for Rotaplast’s First Mission to New Delhi

After months of planning and preparations, a cadre of Rotaplast volunteers departed Sunday, November 17, 2013, from San Francisco International Airport for Delhi, India. They left families, careers, and the comforts of home for two weeks, committed to saving smiles and changing lives, bringing hope to children and adults who live daily with the miseries and stigma of cleft lip and palate anomalies.

Anesthesiologist Dr. Julie Williamson’s family seeing her off.


We checked in 33 large boxes of medical equipment and supplies, all necessary for the mission but also symbols of hope.

Paul Quintavalla lending a hand and a strong back.


Boarding passes in hand, our Medical Director for the mission, Dr. Ron Gemberling,  gathered us together in celebration with toasts of mimosas, wishing for a safe flight and successful mission.

Dr. Ron and PACU Nurse, Cynthia Ideker prepare refreshments.


It was the first mission for two individuals, and for the rest it proved to be a gathering of friends from previous missions.

Dr. Ron and Interim Mission Director/Quartermaster Brian Walker recount their past missions togethers.


After just over 17 hours of flight time at speeds up to mach .82, and a flight path of 30,000+ feet over Iran and Pakistan, Air Emirates landed us safely at Gandhi International Airport in Delhi. Clearing customs, we were greeted by Rotarians from the Rotary Club of Delhi Vasant Valley at 3:30 AM and taken to our hotel for check-in and a 2 hour sleep before the dawn sunrise.

The team standing upright during a stopover in Dubai after 15 hours in coach.


Our welcoming party: Rotarians R. P. Mahipal, Neeraj Gupta, President Bhuvnesh Ahuja (Gaurav), and Rakesh Kumar.



That afternoon we gathered for our orientation without our Mission Director leader, Floyd Randall, who because of visa issues will be joining us two days later. In his place Head Nurse Evelyn Abad and Quartermaster Brian Walker joined Dr. Ron in reviewing the schedule, laying the ground rules and answering questions for this mission. We met Dr. Gagan Sabharwal of New Delhi who was instrumental in setting up the mission and who will be preforming surgeries throughout the mission.

Later we boarded a bus for Sarvodaya Hospital in Faridabad to view the facilities, unpack supplies, and set up our operating room, PACU, wards, and the registration and pre-clinic areas.


Hospital greeting upon our arrival.


Head Nurse Evelyn Abad discussing with the Hospital Administrator Dr. Saurabh Gehlot facility placement and use of hospital staff.


Dr. Ron  and Dr. Gagan Sabharwal discussing surgical protocol.


Sterilizer Ted Alex unpacking supplies.


PACU Nurses Luisa Poquiz and Cynthia Ideker plan patient recovery room facilities with Assistant Nursing Superintendent Manju Sebastian.


November 19 proved to be a long day. All was set for tomorrow’s opening clinic.
[Lindsay and Lorena we will be thinking of you and wish that you had been able to join us.]