A big thank you to all of you for making this trip possible. Your encouraging words and financial help means so much to me.
Today Laura (my daughter) and I went to get a load of medical supplies. One day when I was at work I heard a co-worker say that he was going to China to do some volunteer work with a medical team that does heart surgeries on children. I told him about my plans to go to S.L. He gave me the phone number for Dr. McDonald who organizes medical supplies donated from hospitals and distributes them to various charitable groups. A rotary club pays for the storage of the supplies. When Laura and I got to the warehouse we were surprised at the size of the operation. It was very organized. Several thousand boxes. He welcomed us to take whatever we thought we could use. He was very experienced at packing and we managed to get about 20-30 boxes in the Explorer. Shampoo, ambu bags, ace bandages, stethoscopes, sutures, crutches and so much more.
We were very touched by the generosity. Laura said, "See the difference one person can make". That is so true. From a small seed comes a whole forest. This venture started with Evan just a little more then 2 months ago. Now there are hundreds of people involved and thousands of life's in Sri Lanka have already been changed.
Last night Group 2 met at Whole Foods in Minneapolis. Group 1 returned on Monday after 30 days in SL. They shared some of their experiences with us. They spent a very stressful first week touring and deciding how they could best use their resources. They decided on a village about 60 miles from the "farm" where they were staying. The village had 112 home destroyed. It also was a place that Evan lived when he was a child. When they first went to the village the people were very depressed and lethargic. They were still grieving, by the 2nd week the villagers were working along side the "yellow shirts" (all Help Sri Lanka volunteers have to wear a yellow shirt). By the 3rd week there was singing and joking. They loved the "yellow shirts". When it was time for the group to leave many houses were rebuilt, a community center was close to completion and the ground work for a play ground was done. Hundreds of children and adults had been treated for medical conditions, lots of wounds, dehydration, diabetes, there were burns and heart problems. Hundreds of children were learning to speak some English, which will always benefit them. The language in SL is Singhalese.
The 1st group paved the way for all future groups. The goal is to rebuild 112 houses and help the community find a way to be self sustaining. There will be new groups leaving every month for a year.
Saturday we will be packing our supplies. The airlines is allowing 2 extra boxes per person. We will fly out on Tuesday at 1:15pm go to Detroit, Frankfurt then SL. It will take about 27 hours.
I look forward to hearing from you!