Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Next Stop - Xi'an

Ron spent about l/2 day visiting the construction site for the Jackson Family Foundation orphanage in Zigong. After meeting with workers, the school master, local government personnel and construction workers, he enjoyed a very big lunch hosted by the educational department.

Having completed his work in Zigong, there was a big rush to get us bus tickets and train tickets so we could move on to the next location. Reversing our path there, we took a three-hour bus to Changdu and then caught the night train to Xi'an. We were on the train about 16 hours, but we had a soft sleeper compartment and made it fine. Once it got daylight, the countryside was spectacular with mountains, rivers and villages along the valleys. I was able to see one area of cave homes. I think there are several thousand people who live in caves in this area north of Xi'an. With a fast-moving train and going through many tunnels due to the mountains, I was not able to snap any other pictures.

Two young Chinese men shared the other two beds in the train compartment. One of them spoke good English and asked Ron about our trip to China. He became very interested in what we do and volunteered to help us in any way he could. He owns a small pharmaeutical company, specializing in organic herbal medicines, mostly doing research. He said he had many professional friends in business and it would be easy to get them to help also if we have any project near Chengdu and can use them. It's always encouraging to find people in China who are so appreciative of what we do and are willing to help.

We arrived in Xi'an and spent two days there. Xi'an is a very busy city with crazy driving. I complimented Jackie, our worker, because anyone who can cut in and get through the traffic in Xi'an without having an accident has to be an excellent driver.

The first afternoon after we arrived, we visited Dan Dan and her family. She is the little girl who was burned and came to the U.S. for surgery. She's been back in China one year and doing well. The scars around her eyes are heavy but once she returned to China, she stopped using the plastic mask required by Shriners' Hospital. We understand that it's hot and attracts a lot of attention, but it is essential to smooth the scar tissue. Dan Dan is still studying English but said she had already forgotten a lot that she knew because she cannot speak it regularly with anyone in China. She was very happy to see us.

We did not get to visit Ha Ha, the little boy that came to the U.S. for burn surgery at the same time that Dan Dan came. He is now in kindergarten and it did not work into our schedule to drive out to see him after 4 p.m. when he is home from school. It takes almost an hour to get to his village. We brought little gifts for him and left them with the worker to take to him on his next trip to Lantian village.

I had a crown to come loose. Next to the hospital where we do open heart surgery, there is a dental hospital. Many people go there because you don't need an appointment. The heart worker from the Xi Jiang hospital took us to the dental waiting room and asked if they could see me. I had a very nice lady dentist who spoke excellent English. She cleaned the area and had the tooth glued back on in just a few minutes. The heart worker said her boss at the Xi Jiang hospital would pay for my visit.

Ron met with the Xi Jiang director and surgeons to discuss the upcoming surgery for Huang Ping, a 30-year old man who needs surgery. Congential heart disease runs in the family. He paid for the surgery of his little son and China Mission paid for a recent heart surgery for his little daughter. Both of them are doing well. Now, Huang Ping needs surgery if he is to live very long. His surgery is at high risk because he needed to have surgery when he was a child.

Ron and Jackie, our worker, met the next day with Huang Ping, his father and brother-in-law to discuss the situation. Even with the great risk, Huang Ping was agreeable to surgery. They understand that the hospital will absorb some of the cost and we will pay a portion of it but we take no responsibility for his survival. The family understands and agreed that they would never try to take action or do any harm to our work in China should Huang Ping not survive.

This is a later posting to add Huang Ping's picture following surgery. He had successful surgery and is probably at home in Zigong by this time. We are very pleased with his progress.

This photograph is Ron, Eric Tan, David Fang and Jackie Feng. David teaches English at one of the universities and works part-time for China Mission visiting orphans in the countryside of Xi'an. Jackie is our worker over the medical portion of our work in China.

Eric Tan, whose home is in Singapore, is working with the family in Xi'an. He and Jackie had completed some meetings with Huang Ping and his father. After Ron met with Huang Ping, they conducted another in-depth meeting. Huang Ping said he understood and accepted. We took Huang Ping and his father to Eric's apartment. Shortly afterwards, Huang Ping's father also made the great decision. Afterwards, we took them back to the hospital and left to catch our next night train for Beijing.

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