West Timor Surgical Adventures Part 1: In the Beginning…

Here comes a loose chain of short stories that make up a journey. A collection of events amounting to a surgical adventure. Around this time last year I went with a small group of volunteers to West Timor to do a surgical mission. There’s nothing heroic here. Just a group of people having the awesome privilege of enjoying themselves while helping others. And I happen to like talking and writing about it. It’s therapeutic, I suppose. It may also be hereditary. I talk a lot, says others. Right now I just felt like wanting to remind myself of my wonderful experiences then.

In the beginning was the iPhone. The iPhone was beside me, and I was beside it. At 0430 on a dry Friday morning the iPhone woke me out of my slumber and commanded me out of bed. Displacing the weight of the wife’s knee from over my full bladder, I headed towards the washroom, stumbling over my misplaced backpack in the dark.
Qantas took me to Darwin where I was to report for duty and meet with the rest of the team. Qantas still taught me how to use the life vest in case of emergency. Funny. Where is the expanse of water between my south eastern Australian hometown and Darwin? Surely the parachute may be a better option?

Darwin was hot. Beautiful, but hot. In less than a day, I covered most of Darwin’s touristy sights, on foot. Went to the Art gallery and saw a big crocodile. Went to have lunch and saw a big crocodile. Went to the Crocosaurus Cove and saw a pretty big crocodile. Pretty, and big. I didn’t bother taking away anything from Darwin, except for the extra tan, which I didn’t really want. Darwin is certainly worth visiting, particularly as a platform for visiting the majestic national parks around it.

In the evening I met with the rest of the lovely surgical team whom I was going to get to know pretty well in the next 8 days. We shared a lovely meal under Darwin’s evening skies, over some fresh prawns, fish and chicken. I think it was chicken, anyway. Could have been pieces carved off a pretty big crocodile.

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