To travel with a group, even a well-behaved one like ours, one must expect a lot of ‘hurry up and wait’. Traveling is like that regardless, but when a leader is herding a group, hoping not to lose one, the waiting for things like food, water, bathroom, and in our case, air conditioning, is multiplied and can become unbearable. Yet we made it from SFO to Panama City to Medellin to Apartado, Colombia, with no losses, no melt downs, and no starvation! It was still an exciting trip and we were ready to be in Colombia!

We arrived in 16 hours from San Francisco in a light rain to the Embera Hotel. We had taken two COPA Airlines planes (hey, they still serve food!), spent hours in Medellin airport, getting through customs, and waiting for the next round of transportation. And that doesn’t count the flight many people took from different states (New York, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Washington, Vermont, Wisconsin) to SFO earlier that day.

As we boarded an airport shuttle in Medellin, we were very excited to learn that we were headed to the tarmac to board onto one military helicopter (made in Russia), one military airplane and one private airplane. Manned by two Colombian Army pilots, and a civilian pilot, we flew over the gorgeous mountains and the vast banana (platinos) fields of northwest Colombia. Spectacular! The weather has cooperated completely with warm temps, not-too humid air and puffy, white cumulus clouds.

The Army soldiers stuck with us for the remainder of the day. One told us the story of his own son with a cleft palate, so he was especially grateful for our service to his country. All the soldiers have been fun, friendly and helpful!

The Embera Hotel was ready for us with air conditioned rooms, a delicious hot meal and comfy beds.

A quick meeting was lead by our very capable leader, Randy Floyd, of Pennsylvania. We hit the sack, expecting a very busy day tomorrow doing the ‘clinic’. That’s where we register all patients and do medical exams for vitals, conditions and needs of each patient. Until tomorrow… buenas noches!