Hello, this is Doreen. I’ve sent a couple of posts about the trip so far but here’s a bit more of my thoughts on this mission.
I’m a nurse and your Mission Coordinator. This will be my 11th trip with ORC and 9th trip as Coordinator. I’m very excited to be supporting a new leader on this trip– Elaine Peters as Coordinator Trainee.
I couldn’t wait until we boarded the plane. Why? The inside joke among the veteran team members is that once the plane engine starts, Doreen has her eye shades and blanket on and is motionless until the plane lands. You see, the Mission Coordinator had to work with everyone (Mission Planning Committee, the Board, Kaka-ba Hospital, and the team) for months to plan out the details of each mission. So downtime and ‘zzzz’ could be a bit hard to find six months prior to the mission.
Once we land in New Delhi, high adrenaline kicks in and there will be a tight sequence of events that need to be executed, such as herding the team trough immigration and clearing customs “All IN ONE GROUP”* to make the connecting flight to Ahmedabad. Luckily, Japan Airlines has arranged for staff on site to guide us through the airport, thanks to Janice Wong, the District Manager in Vancouver. LTA, our travel agent for the last 8 years, have helped us plan every step of our travel. Herbert and Emily are people that I definitely rely on. Whenever there’s an issue, I know that I can reach either of them 24/7 for help.
Our host, Dr. Champenaria, will send his elite team of super-efficient administrators, Mr. Mayur Shah, Mr. Dilip Chauhan and Mr. Alesh Modi. To meet us at the Ahmedabad airport for our ground transport. The gracious and considerate doctor has even arranged for Indian snacks on our long bus ride to the hospital. Yay for Indian Snacks!
I can’t wait to see the kids and to plan out the surgical slate times. My biggest challenge on every mission is to balance the maximum number of surgeries against the physical well-being of the team. A Mission Coordinator needs to watch out for staff’s adjustment to the long travel time, the heat and any gastro intestinal illnesses. Ask any veteran team member and you will be regaled with stories of one or more past team member’s gastro illness in full detail on such and mission along with extensive helpful advice on how this could potentially be avoided, etc. etc…it never happened to them personally of course. On a more serious note, we are only in India for a short period of time. Sick team member means less surgeries, pure and simple – so we pay a lot of attention to keeping people rested and healthy.
When I first joined ORC, a wise doctor (you know who you are) once looked me in the eye and said, “Work to your full potential”. I now pass along this nugget of wisdom to my team. This is one of our chances to give; and through this experience we will be rewarded with not just helping others, but we will know more about ourselves and our limits. Not to be overly dramatic but ORC missions can be tests of endurance and tenacity, mentally as well as physically, and we all emerge just a little wiser and stronger.
A bit of personal info: I was born in Vancouver and have lived here for most of my life. Career wise, I’ve worked at BC Children’s Hospital since graduation from nursing school. I live with my 2 dogs, Olive and Brie. Our family activities involved long walks every morning and evening and occasionally couch surfing. Uncle Ray, my brother, will be taking care of the girls when I’m gone. I enjoy seeing the world and sampling the different foods of each country. Tasty and deep fried goodness sums it up for me. I love the flavors of Indian food and hopefully the work and the heat will keep me from gaining weight.
PS: “ALL IN ONE GROUP” one of the hardest tasks. I’ll tell you about that later.