January 24, 2006 - Banca,
am sorry it's taken so long to touch base. We have been wildly
busy and there is very limited computer access: one dial up
line at the hotel with 8 competitive team members trying to
use it between 9 p.m. when we finish dinner and 7:45 a.m. when
we start breakfast. So notes will be intermittent and probably
big news (which some of you know) is that the King Benevolent
Fund, a private fund established by owners of a pharmaceutical
distribution company donated 250 pounds of prescription pharmaceuticals
to the little hospital we work out of. It was amazing. FedEx
freight delivered it to our little Tolland, MA, Town Hall because
our driveway is too steep and icy for a tractor trailer. That
starts the story. Three women, including Sue Voudren from Tolland,
one of our team members, and our friend, Jessica Kelmelis, greeted
Eddie the FedEx Freight driver with trepidation when he said
the "skid weighs 300 pounds". It was box after box of precious
medicine that is impossible to get here... and virtually impossible
for volunteers to get from their doctors since it's expensive
and needs a physician to dispense. When he saw us women, Eddie
rolled his eyes in resignation and helped us remove the shrink
wrap and put all the boxes in my Navigator. It was amazing.
After we were done he asked "why didn't you ask FedEx to ship
it since they are in Memphis where King Pharmaceuticals is?"
I banged my head over and over on the side of the truck. After
I stopped I said "maybe there will be a next time."
Andy and Sue Voudren and Bob prepare to load
the car with just this Gery luggage! Would we get on the plane
with it all?
drugs are for chronic lung infections (including albuterol for
the nebulizer we bought last year with money from friends),
heart medication, vitamins, and incredible antibiotics for persistent
and routine infections. When we got the bill of lading, the
value totaled $90,000 retail! More than amazing. Unbelievable.
And then the journey began to compress the pills into bottles
and pack it in what totaled 24 suitcases (way more than Air
France would permit for the six of us).
Sue and Nancy with Luggage Carts at Loganů.
26 bags in all including 50 pound carry ons with glass bottles
full of medicine!
suitcases included our clothes (not much). Phil Grannan, one
of our team, called to beg to be allowed to bring a second set
of underwear. We relented. Our team mates from Tolland (six
of us in total) were amazing. Packing a rental van and Jim Lawler's
Volvo and driving to Boston with cross checks about location
by cell phone, arriving almost simultaneously at Terminal E,
renting six luggage carts, running in and out, and then trying
to get on board with almost 1000 pounds of "stuff". We were
like gypsy children in the street dodging officials, diverting
attention of those trying to see what we were carrying, pleading
with agents to check "yet another bag for free", etc. Flight
attendants said "no way" to our six 30 pound carry on suitcases
(plus 20 pound personal bags that we said were purses). We just
made believe we didn't understand the language. It was a scene
for a movie.
Bob, Nancy, Sue and Cindy having our last
US meal before the flight! Who knows where Phil and Glo are!
in Bucharest was the reverse, now getting it off baggage claim
and through customs. We lined up... armed with letters from
Global Volunteers and packing lists and I spoke gently and as
a supplicant to customs. Hurrah! We got through and then packed
the van and trailer (sore backs by now). It was below zero (more
on that later) and we then had to bring all the liquids into
the hotel and repack it both the next morning and for our first
hotel night in Barlad. Exhausted but exhilarated.
Exhausted after our 17 hour trip we drop
the medicines off in Dr. Delia's office! We made it!
is trying to get online. Got to go. More later.
love you all and thank you for your support since much of the
1000 pounds was oatmeal, baby wash, diaper cream, etc. It's
just the beginning of our wonderful tale.
Glo and Bob
We have had two full days at the clinic with the babies and
all is well there. We love these 33 kids!