GOS May 15 - We're Off! - After months of scrambling, untold emails flying back and forth between Stamford and Kathmandu, and calls to opthalmic manufacturers for diagnostic equipment, three members of the Gift of Sight crew can finally relax tonight as they depart JFK for Nepal.
It was touch and go there for some team members who had to arrange to place their private lives on hold for two weeks - in one case a family emergency two days before departure that resolved itself at the last minute - for the good of this important mission. We carry with us vitamins for the monks, Sherpa Adventure Gear for the entire crew, and a DeLorme two-way satellite communicator that will permit live texting from the field. Our Keeler retinoscopy rack and indirect opthalmoscope are safely swaddled in expedition leader Scott Hamilton's carry-on. First stop is Doha, Qatar, for an overnight stay on Thursday, then a four-hour flight Friday morning to Kathmandu. Our accommodations in Kat are at the legendary Yak & Yeti Hotel. We've been warned to avoid the tap water lest we board the Lomotil express for a wild ride on the porcelain pony. More on that later, I'm afraid.
On the reading list for tonight is "I'll Call You in Nepal" by Bernadette McDonald ... about the renowned Kathmandu journalist Elizabeth Hawley who has chronicled Everest expeditions for decades. The mission begins.