Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I know we are working, but...

I know we are working, but it sure was nice waking up to 75 degree weather, sunshine, and an ocean breeze. Gosh, Cebu is so pretty.

Today, Wednesday, was another full day. We had some specific objectives for the day and fortunately we hit on most of them. Our plan was to eat a full breakfast and then 1) pick up or pharmacy items downtown, 2) confirm delivery of our dental supplies, 3) acquire other supplies from different stores around Cebu, and 4) reconnect with some of our colleagues in Cebu. We did all of those things.

The commercial says, “Ace is the place for the helpful hardware man.” That is true in Cebu, too. We learned last year that one of the best places to get things we needed was at Ace Hardware. After meeting Mr. Tiu, our local pharmacist, our driver took us to Ace. Driver? Yes, driver. Cebu is not a place we would want to drive. There is system and it does works but think of it this way. Imagine a four lane road with seven lanes in use. That sounds odd, but that is what works. The two lane road here has 4.5 lanes in use – the shoulder, the lane, the centerline, the lane, and the other shoulder. Jeepneys (buses here) and motorbikes mostly use the shoulder. Then you have other vehicles sorta in the lane and sorta in the middle maneuvering around traffic. A series of honks alerts others if you are passing or concerned. It really does work, but we wouldn’t want to be the driver. It actually is very hard to watch – it is frightening to watch. It simply amazes me there are not accidents. Anyhow, our driver, Pursing, who we have known now for more than a year, is wonderful. He took us to Ace and waited as we acquired more than a dozen items from our list. Items such as replacement bulbs for the lamps we use in the clinic, batteries, etc. After Ace we went to a grocery store to get a few more items and then returned to the hotel. Enroute we confirmed our dental supplies arrived.

Later in the day we reconnected with colleagues here in Cebu. Some work for the school district and some for the hotel. It was a busy day. On Thursday we take all of our supplies to Paril, the base of much of our operations. Paril is a mountain barangay. It takes 45 minutes from our city hotel location to get there via paved and unpaved single lane roads that wind up and around the hills and mountains.  From where we are today it will take 90 minutes each way. In some places it is very bumpy. Once there we will unload our supplies and check on items we left there from last year that we will use this year. If all goes well we will be done with our advance preparations and will have a little time to simply wait for the students to arrive. We’ll see.

Submitted by Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr.

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