Long flight, empty hospital and the first cleft

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Guest Blog by Jesta

Well, we’ve arrived. The flight wasn’t too bad, but we had to stop off in Beijing before another flight to Urumqi. It was long and tedious, but nothing too worrying.

Arriving in Urumqi was interesting… There was a lack of serious security at the airport, but once we got into the town I could see the extra precautions. There are bag-checkers at the entry to all buildings: our hotel, the restaurant, and the supermarket (strangely enough).

I went shopping in the supermarket, which was a bizarre experience. There was a bakery just outside the entry so I wanted to buy some bread. The trouble was that I then wasn’t allowed to take the loaf into the supermarket, so I had to check it in at the left luggage counter and get a tag – I’ve never checked a loaf of bread in before…

Anyway, we toured the hospital earlier and had a look at the wards and things. What the Chinese authorities have done is to give us the whole wing of the hospital to ourselves. The wards look ok, basic, but clean.

The hospital…

Welcoming signs…

Smile Poster
Tomorrow we will start the screening process. I was wrong before: It appears that we will be operating on around 130 people, and the screening process is to put them into priority categories – only people with pre-existing medical conditions that preclude surgery and children that are too young are likely to be screened out. Even then it was made clear that their details should be noted and that they would be considered for the next time.

As we left the hospital we saw this man:
He had turned up with his family the day before the mission starts to get into line. He’ll sleep in the carpark, by the looks of things. I’m not sure if he will be operated on, but Dr Y (the senior plastic surgeon) indicated that he would be likely to operate if it was possible.

Signing off for some sleep…

6 thoughts on “Long flight, empty hospital and the first cleft

  1. Avatar

    Oh, good. I’m glad to hear that you’ve arrived safely, and that the operation will be extended to more patients.

    The picture of the old man makes me feel sad, though. What a life he must have had… and it must have been really horrible for him to still want to receive treatment at such a late stage of his life.

    I’m glad for the existence of Operation Smile.

  2. Avatar

    It’s a good thing that you people are doing things like that,it’s deeply appreciated,keep up the good work ! :) and err perhaps a homemade bomb in a loaf of bread? haha


  3. Avatar

    It’s good to hear the flight was uneventful.

    I look forward to hearing about your experiences on this project. First-hand is always more interesting and poignant.

    Take care of yourself over there.

  4. Avatar

    Thanks for the well-wishes. The security situation seems reasonable, but we are being careful.

    The first real day has started – it’s now just around noon and I have shot 400 pictures so far.

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