The San Jose contingent for the Cumana Rotaplast Mission arrived at SFO and were joined by others from various locations around States.The work began when 35 boxes arrived and needed to be brought into the terminal. It was great to have a couple spouses there to help. We needed most of the time allotted by arriving at 1:45 pm.
We made a plane change in Houston where we joined with more of the team from other locations. The actual lay-over time was short (1 hr). They held the plane long enough for all the boxes to be loaded on the plane.
We landed in Caracas in the very early morning and were met by Roberto. Our trip through customs and immigration was very easy once we got the suitcases due to Roberto’s organization of the process.
After a short bus ride to another area of the airport and waiting for the military plane to arrive we boarded the transport plane. First came the loading of the 35 boxes. The plane was a Chinese-copy of the classic USA C130. It was noisy and hot but smooth enough that, thankfully, no one got air sick.
After a 1 hour flight we were greeted by a large gathering of local dignitaries, sponsors, and Rotarians. We were entertained by a band and dancers as we entered the terminal. Some of the team even were asked to join in the dance. Following this we were escorted into the terminal building where a welcoming ceremony was held. This turned into a bit of a press conference for the local media.
After another bus ride we arrived at our hotel. We had a late lunch after which many of the team went to check out the hospitals where the clinic and surgeries would be held. After that folks had time to get a bit of rest before the dinner celebration that evening. It made of a long but eventful day. Everyone was looking forward the clinic the next day.