The IEP team arrived in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) on Wednesday, converging from multiple locations. Eighteen of us met at San Francisco International Airport on Christmas night and flew out shortly after midnight. We met up with Rob and Shannon Lehnert from New York during our short stopover in Taipei. Drs. Nyska and Palmanovich from Israel were waiting for us when we arrived in Ho Chi Minh City.
|IEP's California contingent before the 26+ hour journey to Can Tho! We didn't look quite so chipper when we finally arrived :-)|
It's truly an international team and everyone is focused on bringing help and care to the people here in the Mekong Delta area of Vietnam.
After arriving in HCMC, we gathered up our luggage and supplies -- 22 boxes of medical equipment, medications, and gifts for our patients. From there we got through Customs and filled two small buses -- one with people and luggage headed for the hotel, the other with the medical equipment headed for the hospital. We picked up crutches and additional medication before heading south into the delta to Can Tho. The bus ride was about four and a half hours but always seems longer because we're all eager to arrive in Can Tho.
|New and old converge in the Ninh Kieu District of Can Tho.|
The city is growing in many ways but still has the same spirit. Although there are new buildings and more lights on the skyline, the hustle of scooters on the streets is very much the same. The open markets filled with stalls selling fresh vegetables, fish, and meats are very much as they have been for decades. It's interesting to see what changes and what remains the same.
Our hotel welcomed us with a banner in the front of the entrance. The team has stayed here since it opened, so it's a comfortable home base for those of us who have been here before.
|The newly renovated TTC Hotel welcomed us in style.|