Written by Ann Rhomberg, Executive Director
In my role as Executive Director, the launch of mission trips are my favorite times of the year. Yesterday, as I gratefully waved goodbye to our hard working Trip Leaders, Jodi Grahl and Kira Foken, I was inspired by our large team of volunteer missioners who have made enormous sacrifices to join them in this General Surgery effort.
This diverse team of 18 missioners, arriving now in Cochabamba, have to be jazzed about working side-by-side with our Bolivian colleagues, and yes, escaping the arctic temps up north. After a few hours on the ground, they will meet their patients and finalize the surgery schedule. They will split into three surgical teams operating in adjoining hospitals, treating particularly complex cases such as esophageal strictures, gallbladder cancer, and cystic echinococcis. Leading the way are our loyal returning surgeons, Dr. Malcolm Bilimoria from Chicago and Dr. John Gregory from Billings, Montana. For the first time, we also have a Pediatric General Surgeon, Dr. Tamara Fitzgerald, who will open new ground for us to expand our general surgery reach to our youngest patients.
Despite limited sleep, the adrenaline has likely already spread across our team and this blog will be a needed outlet to communicate all that is about to happen! Our blog 'voices' will come from many different missioners, primarily Vivian Joffre and Natalie Rodriguez, but other team members will be clamoring for blog action too, so let's all stay tuned!