Many of us from San Francisco traveling to Cumana, Venezuela arrived at 1 pm on Sunday October 26 at the San Francisco Airport. Other medical mission members were assembling at the Philadelphia Airport and we were destined to rendezvous in Houston. Little did we know that it would take until around 2 pm on Monday before we arrived in Cumana. The flights went well given the usual airline delays but our biggest surprise was when we arrived in Caracas, Venezuela and were told that the military transport to Cumana would be late, at least an hour. We sat and waited anxiously until the aircraft arrived. We believe the aircraft was a Russian built transport with four large turboprop engines (see image below).
We posed for a group photo on the tarmac and loaded our 34 crates of supplies, luggage inside and buckled in for what we anticipated would be a rough ride. But other than being noisy (easily fixed with ear plugs or sound deadening headphones) it was remarkable smooth ride and several of our passengers even fell asleep.
On arrival we were greeted by the Governor of Sucre Province, many dignitaries, welcoming posters, a lively band, and we were all invited to dance to the music.
After a quick lunch many of the team travelled to the hospital to see the facility and to plan how to set-up for the opening clinic of Tuesday.
Upon arriving back at the Venetur Cumana Hotel, we were informed of a semiformal dinner hosted by local Rotarians to celebrate our arrival. It was very well attended by local Rotarians and the dinner was excellent. Now 36 hours after departing from our airports in the U.S. we are ready for bed – awaiting our alarms at 5:30 am to get us up for breakfast and off to the Hospital to examine the 300+ children scheduled to be waiting for us.