Gloria Gery's Romania Journal


January 24, '06


Tuesday, January 24, 2006 - Banca, Romania

I 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 brief.

The 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?

The 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!

Those 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!

Arriving 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!

Phil is trying to get online. Got to go. More later.

We 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.

Love, Glo and Bob

P.S. We have had two full days at the clinic with the babies and all is well there. We love these 33 kids!


January 24, '06