Wednesday was a team bonding day - at the beach! The beach here is beautiful..waters warm..sand soft...paradise. I went body surfing and played header soccer in the pool with some of the Operation Smile volunteers like Dr. Chong, an amazing plastic surgeon from Australia. He said he'd teach me how to do stitches using a needle and banana. I can't wait!! Dinner was a delicious buffet as usual - all you can eat. The waiters bring different meats on skewers and ask if you want any. It was nice to have the day to relax since the flight here took 36 hours. Our plane wasn't able to leave Miami so the airline put us up in a hotel for the night. We then didn't make the connection from Sao Paolo to Fortaleza and ended up arriving at 1 a.m. Monday and went to the hospital to prepare that very morning - a 36 hour marathon after I took off from LAX on Saturday!! Hey, I'd do it all over again a thousand times - words can't describe what a blessing this trip is in every way imaginable.
Thursday - There are three shelters that house the children who will be having surgery. Today ten of us went to one of the shelters where the children are staying with their mothers. The nuns gave us a tour and we were treated to a dance by the ladies dressed in local costumes. The shelter has a chapel and is really nice. Each bedroom is decorated with a different theme. I can't express enough how loving and thankful the mothers and their children are for what Operation Smile is doing. At the shelter, we didn't get much of a chance to play with the kids but I had a fun moment playing toss with a little boy with a cleft lip. I swear he's going to be a pitcher some day!
We've screened 146 children and 96 will be receiving surgery starting tomorrow! Operation Smile is changing lives one smile at a time - Tchau for now!!