Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Days 5,6, and 7- Oh My, What an Adventure

Hola friends!

The blogger has been slacking lately, my appologies! The last few days were jammed packed so it was hard to take a second and let the rest of the world know what the KF team has been up to! Here’s a brief overview of what our last few days were like…

Thursday: Our last day of surgeries was a successful one! Usually Thursdays are our longest days, but thanks to some shuffling of surgeries and a group effort, it looked like it wouldn’t be as long as everyone thought. There wasn’t anything terribly lengthy, but there was an array of hips, feet, and legs. There weren’t too many hands if any at all. Mid-morning the hospital put together a phenomenal presentation celebrating our 10 years in the city and El Hospital General’s orthopedic program. They presented us with a touching video and various community officials and doctors spoke. Thank you again El Hospital General! Later our team was faced with the not-so-difficult decision of whether to leave semi-early (aka 9 o’clock) and go get dinner or stay and pack up that night. Our hunger definitely trumps any logical decision making so we decided it best to go to dinner and then turn in for a good night’s rest before our busy day of packing!

Friday: We arrived at the hospital later than usual because we had no cases that day and began the monumentous task of packing up all of our stuff. Half the crew took on the daunting dungeon, I mean basement, while the rest stayed upstairs and packed our supplies from the OR. Kid’s First loves to be prepared, but we realized we took that prepardness to a whole new level when we saw how many boxes we had to fit in a tiny spot in the basement. It was not a task for the faint at heart. We literally filled our tiny space with boxes all the way up to the ceiling. Shout out to Lester for heading up the basement!! No one else could have done it and been as persistent as you! We love you Lester! Needless to say, no more freight loads of boxes will be making their way to San Miguel anytime soon…

Friday afternoon we went to El Correo for lunch then did the team’s favorite San Miguel activity: SHOPPED! If shopping were an Olympic sport, team KF would take gold, silver, and bronze. It’s debatable who won the “how much can I bring home” contest this year, but Regina and Val were definitely front runners. If you visit any KF member’s home and think “wow I like that (insert decorative home item here)” odds are it came from San Miguel. Friday night a monsoon of epic proportions opened up on San Miguel. Due to the lack of drainage, the streets quickly turned into rivers just in time for the team to try and make their way to Dr. Andrews house for closing ceremonies. But the promise of Vicky’s guacamole gave us all enough motivation to get to his house and enjoy a well deserved, relaxing evening.

Saturday: Saturday saw the departure of another few team members. The rest of us went to breakfast, shopped around, and enjoyed what all San Miguel had to offer. Being in the hospital all day means we’re always excited when a day comes that we truly get to experience San Miguel’s culture. That afternoon we made the trip about 30 minutes outside of town to a restaurant/ranch called Nirvana. Honestly, some of the best food I’ve ever had. The weather was gorgeous and the team had an amazing time. That night we said our always tearful goodbyes to San Miguel and each other to prepare for a long day of traveling Sunday. How does the week fly by so fast?!

*I won’t get into detail, but Sunday was a traveling nightmare for both the Durham and Nashville crews. Let’s just say, I’m glad we were traveling with each other and airport Mexican food never tasted so good.

Our last spotlight goes out to the behind the scenes men that keep our team happy, running, and in good spirits: Mack and Billy Grande! These two are some of the most hard working men you’ll meet. From getting the internet set up, to constantly making trips around the city, to doing the heavy lifting, and running the schedule, these two are the best. Thank you for all of your hard work!!!

I feel like the theme for this week is a phrase a mentor of mine said to me before I embarked on an exciting yet nerve racking journey several years ago: “Oh my, what an adventure.” 10 years Kid’s First has committed itself to coming to San Miguel and changing the lives of over 1,000 children and their families. But when I step back and think about who benefits more from these trips, the kid’s or us, I always seem to come back to us. This city and these people have given each team member more than we ever could have dreamed possible 10 years ago. We cannot say thank you enough to the government of San Miguel, the hospital volunteers and doctors, the patients and their families, our supporters back in the states, and the entire KF team for all that you do and continue to do for Kid’s First. Here’s to hopefully 10 plus more years in a town that is unique and welcoming and incredibly humbling. Until next year! Hasta luego!

Stephen Justis