The tent with the 24 beds that we that we prepared on the last day together (Friday) with our medical team was ready and perfect. That same night the first four patients arrived, three of them being from the same family. The mother and two children were in serious condition and would not have survived the night without intravenous hydration. God knew they were going to arrive. His timing is perfect. Samaritan's Purse did not let us leave without a debriefing time with pastors from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
Yes, we were able to leave on our flights on Saturday. The skies were partially cloudy. Dr. Nelson left at 9 a.m. in order to catch his American Airlines flight to the U.S. He reported that there were large numbers of passengers that had canceled flights from the day before, so the three of us left early to go to the airport. On our way there we saw areas that were flooded. Various tent cities were impacted by the floods with water running down the streets and rivers much larger than normal. But it appeared that most of the tents withstood the storm without major damage.
Everything is different at the Port-au-Prince airport. First they made us wait outside and a few men for an additional fee could take us to the security area. I told them it was nice, but we weren't going to pay tips. It's almost impossible to carry your suitcases without three or four helpers trying to take them from you. Poor Dr. Nina, being the smallest member of our team, everybody wanted to carry his suitcase and he seemed like the perfect victim.
At last we were able to pass through the two security gates without incident. This time there was at least a ship selling drinks and hot dogs. This was new. The last time there was nothing like that. When I was in the bathroom, two airport workers came in and I saw that they were secretly dividing up some dollars that they had taken from some passenger.
In Panama City we were met by a team from the Ministry of Health before we could enter the airport asking for forms or declarations about any possible contact with cholera and our state of health. Since Dr. Nina and I were the first in line, we told them that we had not received any such forms and that we knew nothing about them. They let us two go, but the others were detained for an hour while being interrogated until at last they could proceed.
We arrived in Quito at 10:30 p.m. without incident, giving thanks to God for His protection. Dr. Mark Nelson also arrived safely at his destination.