It has been amazing thus far. Leaving from the Islamabad airport at 3 am, we drove 5 hours with CDRS Director Todd Shea and Afzal, his right hand man, crammed into this tiny car. Todd entertained us pretty much nonstop. Due to the incredible winding road, Helen missed a bit of the conversation as her head was out the window, ears flapping back in the wind, losing whatever meals we had most recently consumed. Judy was not in the least queasy.
Dawn broke revealing that there was nothing to our left except a thousand foot drop down to the River Jhelum. Breathtakingly perfect rapids for David. . . As we climbed higher, the views of the 15,000 foot nearby peaks came into focus. Behind these rose others which dwarfed them.
As we pulled into Muzaffarabad, signs of the earthquake were evident as well as some improvements. There are still houses crushed and fallen into the river, schools strewn with rubble amid freshly painted buildings.
We arrived into the village Chikar, (village population 4,706 in Chikar Union Council, population 20,238) where CDRS is based (CDRS facilities serve a population of approximately 100,000 people in 6 union councils). We were warmly greeted by the entire staff as we emerged from the car. We are sharing a room with 2 lovely women health care workers.
While clearly the animated musician he is, we have found Todd to be efficient, competent and enormously energetic.
The food is hearty, spiced to our taste and plentiful.
We are healthy and well cared for and happy to be here.
We are going for a walk around town this afternoon and will start working in the clinic in the morning.
Go in peace.
Judy and Helen