It is indeed an honor to once again return to Rotaplast after an absence of several years. I am truly in awe of the amazing level of dedication each and every team member exhibits on a daily basis.
I must say that the Quartermaster position is my favorite job. I guess technically, I am supposed to shepherd the two tons of equipment from San Francisco through Dubai, on to New Delhi…navigate the mysteries of customs and get those same twenty seven boxes…..and our team safely to the hospital. In reality, it is a team effort. Everyone pitches in and lugs, pushes, scoots and drags the boxes at the airports. Mission Director Brian Walker is a master of figuring out just what to do and not do to get our entire caravan through customs.
Our plane at SFO was loaded and ready to depart exactly on time at 3:30 Sunday afternoon. Then the U.S. border security decided to thoroughly run every square inch of the baggage compartment and each passenger through a special unannounced screening; this, despite the fact that we were departing the country, not entering the country. This scrutiny took an additional one hour and twenty minutes…while we sat.
Eventually, we did leave California and took off on our circum-polar route to Dubai, a fifteen and a half hour flight. I was thrilled to see that our fight path took us just short of the North Pole, north of Greenland, over Scandinavia, East of Moscow, and threaded down between Iran and Iraq to Dubai. Somewhere over Greenland I peered out the window and was pleased to watch the pale green aurora borealis for an hour or so.
At the short layover in Dubai, our team was joined by RN Lois Borie and PACU assistant Bo Morse. We were now complete except for the two surgeons who would join us in New Delhi.
We arrived in Delhi at about four in the morning on Tuesday. After Brian Walker got all our equipment and us through customs, we were met by the Rotarians of the Delhi Vasant Valley Club. They had our bus ready and an ambulance to carry our equipment. We checked into our hotel at 6:00am, exhausted but excited. Our mission was beginning!
Chris Brannan, Quartermaster