Saturday, August 30, 2008

Colombia: “Starting a new”.

Today, we began in earnest our Humanitarian Assistance Mission in Colombia in and around the city of Santa Marta and out lying regions. The needs are pretty much the same and no less significant. As I visited the potential medical, dental, and engineering sites, I noted a common theme that I have seen world wide. There will always be a need; some greater than others.

Yesterday, we took a few hours to relax and rev up for today by having a steel beach picnic on the flight deck. It was good to get out and meet, in an informal setting, this terrific team. Most of them I barely recognized out of uniform; but our discussions quickly and almost always returned to a common theme…it was good what we had accomplished in Nicaragua, and we all wished we had time to do more. Just a few hours were spent recharging before we were back to certifying and validating our plans to ensure that each and every minute I Colombia would be productive. As the sun crept up this morning, we could see on the horizon the outline of Santa Marta surrounded by mountains and ridge lines..and what a beautiful country is.

The day continued with a series of meetings, handshakes and warm welcomes from city officials and the townsfolk. The word had gotten out that we were here and why we were here; to provide medical, care, dental, care, veterinarian, care, donate food, clothing, books, medical supplies, etc and restore and repair schools, hospitals and playground areas for the children.

The medical screening lines filled quickly, and the families, especially the children, poured out into the streets to get a glimpse of us, say hello, shake our hands or give a gentle touch or tug of acknowledgment. We are here for 12 days and there is a lot to be done; so let me sign off and get back to work…or is it work; hard to tell from where I stand. "It is better to give than to receive!"


Jennifer Lenahan said...

Dear Commodore Ponds,

As an American citizen currently working at a public health organization in Santa Marta, Colombia, I think that what you and the Continuing Promise operation have been doing is incredible and inspirational. A 9-year-old girl living at the organization, Elsa Maria, has never been able to walk due to what is believed to be flaccid paraplegia. She spends her days either confined to her rocking chair or trying to crawl around the floor. I think that it is highly possible that Elsa Maria's condition could be improved. How might I go about planning a consultation with the Continuing Promise medical staff, or where should we bring Elsa-Maria for a consultation? I can be reached by e-mail at Thank you for your time and good luck with the rest of the operation!


Jennifer Lenahan

LRankin said...

Dear Commodore,

Thank you so much for sharing all the ins and outs of CP. My sister-in-law is aboard your ship. She volunteered long ago and has been looking forward to serving and helping in any way she can. As you say sometimes their needs outweigh our own and its wonderful to hear the difference you all are making. We miss Angie dearly but know she would not wish to be any other place in the world. Thank you again and I'll be waiting to hear more.