Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Final Four Days

April 13, 2006

Last day of work! We were supposed to split into two groups, but one of the villages was in the opposite direction of the others. As we only had access to one boat today, we all headed back to near the airstrip. My group went to Namara, and the other two groups went to Namalota, just up the road.

Our group set up with a very shaky surgery table. It leaned. A lot. We had Joseph tell the villagers we were there, and asked him to round up some dogs. He came back a few minutes later with a two month old pup, a female. We sedated her, and Joseph was back a few minutes later with her two littermates, both females. Then an adult female and another female pup. Five spays in a row; haven't had to deal with that yet. A lot more stressful and time consuming! We got through them fine, and then had five neuters in a row, so it all evened out.

The villagers were again very welcoming. The house we set up in front of made us hot chocolate and crackers. We left them our tarp as well as fishing line and hooks, as well as many toothbrushes and gifts. We again took pictures of the children and they all loved to see themselves. I even had a father ask to have his picture taken with his child. It's nice to be able to do something so ordinary (to us) and have it give so much pleasure. Same for the surgeries I guess--it is so natural for us and we are so honoured to be able to come into their villages and use our talents--but they are tremendously grateful to us.

There were many more dogs in this village than the ten we were able to do. We asked owners of other dogs, but they didn't want their dogs to have the surgery. Unsure why, but we can't force them.

We met up with the other groups in the big village, and they had already done 30! While we were walking to them, there was a bit of a downpour--it only lasted a few minutes, but we were soaked. It was actually quite refreshing.

They had two dogs sedated when we arrived, so we took a neuter, while they did the other. We then did a cat neuter, and one other dog spay. Jus as we were getting going on the spay, the skies opened up. It was an amazing rainfall. It lasted for about ten minutes, and there were huge puddles when it was over. We had to move the surgery tables from under the trees to under cover as were were getting drenched.

We finished the surgeries and we packed up while they were recovering. As were were walking out of the village, we ran into the health officer for the area, so Terrill showed and explained the ear tags. He recommended we write up a report to the Agriculture officer (the one responsible for the poisonings) to be sure it was all documented so these dogs would be spared.

Up to this point, our total is 196 surgeries. We are very proud of what we have done here. There are 6-7 dogs in Zachariah's village that may be brought to the resort for us to do tomorrow, but even if we don't, we have done amazingly well. Now for a couple days rest before we head for home.

April 14, 2006

Well, in spite of no alarm, I was awake at 6:15. I lay in bed for awhile, then wandered down to the beach with a cup of coffee.

After breakfast, some of the group went diving. I sat on the beach and read my book and relaxed. There were four dogs and a cat brought form the nearby village, so I got set up for their surgeries and when everyone came back from diving, we did them. That brought our total to 201. We had some lunch and then the divers got ready for another dive. Gord and I got ready for some fishing!

Zachariah took us out on the boat. He really wanted to find us some tuna. I just wanted to fish! I caught the first one, a big Spanish Mackerel. It was awesome--I don't think I've ever even seen a fish that big up close. The guys were mad, cause I used my "Heeeeeeere, fishy, fishy, fishy" lure and it worked! I caught then next one too. It was a bit smaller. Gord caught a big barracuda. It was a really great time. We saw an amazing sunset.

We showed off our catch and gave it to the kitchen. They said they would cook it for dinner tomorrow.

The rest of the evening was spent with a drink or two on the beach, and some great conversation. I was in bed early again. Just wiped from our two weeks here.

April 15th, 2006

Our last day...Up early again for coffee on the beach. After breakfast, most of us went either diving or snorkeling. I finally got brave and free dove down about 10 feet. It was so great. I got very close to the most beautiful fish. I've only ever been that close when they were in an aquarium.

It is a beautiful day for our last one here. Few fluffy white clouds, but otherwise blue sky and sunshine. I am sitting on the beach as I write this with a puppy around somewhere, and Scarface, the local dog, chasing a bird down the beach. Happiness is...

See the puppy?

We went snorkeling again later, Donna, Norma and I. We kayaked out to a nearby reef. We took some great underwater photos. It was quite breezy and there was a bit of an undertow to contend with. Paddling back to shore took some muscles too!

Our final kava party started on the beach, but had to be moved indoors when the rain started. We were treated to some Polynesian dancing along with our singing tonight. Dinner was Gord's barracuda. Yummy. We had one of my fish for lunch.

April 16th, 2006

The Guys: Isaac, Dan, Vo, Junior, Bate, Zacchariah

It was hard to leave! These people became good friends in a very short time. They sang to us as we left on the boat. They had given us all corsages, and they sang (in Fijian) "If you will come back to see us again, throw your flowers in the water". So of course we all did. Annalisse has requested that we return in two years time to take care of any dogs that we missed this trip, and of course any that have been born in the meantime.

Our flight from Kadavu was delayed a little bit, and our team was split up. We got the smaller plane, and I was sitting right behind the co-pilot's seat. You can bet I was watching all those instruments closely! It was actually quite a nice flight, very little turbulence.

We did a bit of shopping in Nadi as we had several hours before our flight. We also had a wonderful dinner on the beach. We toasted each other and the work that we had done.

The flight home was long, but uneventful. No major turbulence this time, thank goodness. We flew into Hawaii with the most amazing sunrise out the window of the plane. We arrived home at 6pm to our families. I will miss the team, and the work, but it is always good to be home!

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