Dehradun, India--Bonnie MacEvoy, Interplast volunteer anesthesiologist.
Clinic days are always fun on Interplast trips. We get to meet so many families and children, and see how the local people dress and interact.
The team made its way to the clinic, which was a few miles beyond the hospital. I was designated to finish set-up at the hospital on my way to the clinic. I realized after everyone had left that I had no contact information for the transporter vans. So, with little encouragement and much delight, I walked to the hospital, which is not far from and on the same street as the hotel.
It was here that I remembered New Delhi from my many visits almost 35 years ago. Overloaded motorbikes, three-wheeled taxis, speeding cars, and lorries of all sizes. The idea is to drive on the left, as in Britain, but this only happens when the road has a center divider that is several inches high. Without the divider, all bets are off and the dance/slalom that results is amazing to see. Add to this many pedestrians, bikes and random cows, and it is nothing short of chaos. Into this I ventured to make my way to our little hospital.
At one point, I found myself walking behind a large white bull. He had the shape of a Brahma bull and was every bit as large, with a large protrusion over his withers and long corkscrew horns with pointy ends. The whole package was very threatening. I think he might have been as tall as my shoulders, but each time I look back on this event, he seems to become taller and his horns longer and pointier. I think now I can even see steam coming out his nostrils.
Finally the driveway of the hospital appeared. It was obvious, because there is a large sign on the road that says, “Free Plastic Surgery Camp – Super Specialist Visiting From USA”, followed by all our names. One third of our team is from other countries (Nepal, India, Pakistan, and New Zealand), but that would be too long to list, I guess. Behind the sign is a man sitting on the sidewalk under a canopy, selling bananas. The whole experience feels surreal.