Feb 9th, 2013- Day One – an update from Melissa
On Feb 8, 2013 we started our journey to Guatemala. Our original flight was Feb 7th,
but our flight had been cancelled due to mechanical problems. So our ten day trip has
now become an eight day adventure. Now you would think that getting there would be
the easier part of this trip, however it has already been a challenge. We arrived at
Pearson Airport (Toronto), and all five of us have huge hiking packs with our personal
belongings, carry-ons, 6 large green totes full all the medical supplies, and
an autoclave. The airport was very busy as a lot of flights were cancelled, due to the
snow storm. We headed to check-in, we loaded all our packs on,
all the totes, but when it came to the autoclave they were not going to let us take it.
This was not good, an autoclave is a machine that sterilizes surgical instruments, this
unit had been donated from another vet hospital. We had a local company build a
box for us with wheels as the unit itself weighs 75lbs, and now we find out that it weighs
155lbs in the crate! Air Canada will only accept items under 70 lbs. It is very
important that we take this, as there is not even one at the human hospital to use. We
try to find a screwdriver to open the crate, we probably spent a good 45mins looking,
but no luck. Finally Janine, our baggage lady came up to us, she checked with the head of
the airlines and found they would allow us take it. We were thrilled- we made our flight
with minutes to spare. We had a lay over in Houston Texas at 12:30 am.
We hustled to our hotel, hit the pillow at 1 am. By 6:30am (after a short nap),
we headed back to the airport in Houston to catch our flight to Guatemala. So
once again we lug our hiking packs, 6 totes, carry-ons and the autoclave to check in.
It was the same problem all over again. Now United Airlines would not accept
the autoclave! We could not believe we had made it this far and we were going to have
to leave it. Once again we needed a screwdriver, as the airline said they may let us
take it out of the wooden crate as it would weigh less. All of us went hunting, from
maintenance men, to police women, to running back to the hotel- we needed a
Robertson screwdriver, and there was none to be found! Finally they called the baggage
handler and he said he would take it, he probably could not say no to grown women crying.
So off we went, got breakfast and boarded our plane. What a great guy! So I am going to
sign off now as we head for a 3 hour flight to Guatemala. Stay tuned for our next update…