Airline travel being what it normally is these days it was certainly a pleasure to take our 14-hour journey aboard Philippine Airlines. The cabin crews were extremely accommodating working hard through the night providing a level of service that harkens back to the airline travel days of years ago. It was definitely foreshadowing of the hospitality that was to come.
Smooth travels brought us safely to Manila where we had a short lay over before the final leg of our journey to Cebu City. As we sat sipping our tea and coffee waiting to board our flight the sun slowly started to rise, half way across the world, oh the magic of travel….
A final short flight and we reached our new home for the next 2 weeks; Cebu City. All a little sleep deprived we made our way off the aircraft where our spirits were quickly buoyed by the enthusiastic and warm welcome from our host Rotary Club of Cebu Port Centre.
Not only did the club have many of their members at the airport to greet us armed with welcome signs and presenting us each a lovely necklace, but they were also able to whisk us through customs, load up our 32 boxes plus baggage and had us out of the airport and on our way to the hotel in record time. As noted by many of our team members that have done numerous missions the Rotary Club of Cebu Port Centre really has a well-oiled machine when it comes to handling the arrival of Rotaplast.
After settling in and freshening up it was time for lunch (something we have come to learn is a major meal experience) we were joined by our Rotary hosts and had an in-depth briefing of the events of the days to come. Feeling very well fed and watered it was time to see the hospital where we will be working for the next ten days.
This year for the first time Rotaplast is graciously being hosted by the Adventist Hospital – Cebu. Last years earthquake adversely affected the hospital that had been used by this mission for the past eleven years so our team is anxious to assess the new location.
The site visit is extensive as the medical team utilizes this occasion to work out the logistics for the coming busy days. Both newcomers and the non-medical participants listen and learn absorbing as much as they can quite overwhelmed by the breadth and depth of the plans.
We are all grateful and exhausted as we gather for a “happy hour” back at the hotel to recap the day’s activities and review and revisit many of the decisions made by the team. Heads truly hit their pillows this night; wonder, amazement, exhaustion, excitement and a desire for the dawn to come soon so we can begin the work we came to do….the real mission begins in the morning.