Dehradun, India-Bonnie MacEvoy, Interplast volunteer anesthesiologist.
Finally, it was time for the last leg of our trip, more than 48 hours for me after my original departure. We all met in the lobby and loaded into the bus again by 9 a.m. At this point, we met up with the remaining two of our team, Dr. Kiran Nakarmi, Interplast’s surgical outreach director in Nepal, and Mohan Dangol, an occupational therapist, also from Nepal. The 14 of us arrived at the New Delhi Airport, went through very strict security, and on to our local flight to our final destination. At least this time we did not have the large and heavy cases and boxes to deal with; they had gone on ahead in a truck to travel overland and meet us in Dehradun.
About an hour later, we made our approach into Dehradun. Most of the flight was clouded below us, but as we descended, the air cleared. We made our approach into the foothills of the Himalayas, which were covered with thick, lush greenery. The mountains here are below the snow line, and covered with trees and large, bushy plants. It is a large city, but then this is a very populated nation.
Everyone piled into the buses for the last time, all boxes and bags in tow. The ride was our first introduction to this area, and it is beautiful. Most notable to me was the large population of orange-ish Rhesus Monkeys, all parading and strolling along the road side. They seem to make themselves at home in the road of speeding vehicles, and yet – while no one seems to avoid them or brake – there is no monkey road kill that I can see.
We arrived at our hotel in early afternoon, and our host’s son Dr. Kush, who is also a physician, his wife and children, and waiters with lemonade, greeted us. Dr. Kush’s wife and children ceremoniously decorated each of us with a garland of marigold and a Hindi mark of paint and rice grains on our foreheads. We have officially arrived!