Thursday, September 13, 2007

Help Support Operation Smile

I don't have much to report about Rob (just the's hot, he stands a lot of watch, and he's completely sleep-deprived!), but I did want to mention a couple interesting things about Operation Smile.

One of our very generous sponsors is Hasbro, the maker of the classic game "Operation." (Who didn't love that game as a kid?!) Anyway, they have developed a new version of the game, now called "Operation Rescue Kit." Hasbro is touring the US promoting this game at different festivals and fairs. To celebrate Operation Smile's 25th Anniversary, each person who visits the Operation Rescue Kit game booth at a local Mobile Rescue Unit event will be invited to press a giant oxygen pump. Every time the giant oxygen pump is used to save Cavity Sam, Operation Rescue Kit game will donate 25 cents to Operation Smile to help spread smiles (up to $75,000).

Of course, not everyone can visit an Operation Rescue Kit game booth, but you can go to and press an electronic version of the Oxygen Pump! And remember, you can press the oxygen pump once every 24 hours until December 31, 2007...if everyone does this, it can add up to a significant donation to Operation Smile!

Also, Operation Smile Co-founders Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee will appear live on CNN International’s “World News” to discuss Operation Smile’s work around the world and its 25th Anniversary activities. Tune in on Saturday, September 15 at 9am EDT. “World News” airs several times on Saturday, so the segment may repeat at 10am, 11am, 1pm, 2pm, 4pm and 5pm. Broadcast schedules are subject to change. Please use the following link for complete schedule Please note: This is on CNN International, not CNN US. However, many cable providers do carry CNN International in the US, so check your listings.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

To The Gulf

I got a few emails from Rob in the last couple days, but they've been pretty short as he's been even busier than usual. They have officially made it to the Gulf. Yesterday they transited through the Strait of Hormuz. That took them through what would be Iran's territorial waters, so they were queried and looked at by several Iranian ships. He said that makes standing watch rather stressful! And to make it worse, he was on watch for about 13 hours between 5:00 AM and midnight.

He said that that it's terribly hot there, and that the AC on the ship doesn't work as well now because the water temperature is so warm. When he went on watch in the afternoon the sea water temp was 97 degrees! In comparison, the water temp here off the coast of Virginia Beach is currently 76 degrees.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Kodak Site Updated...Finally!

I have (finally!) updated the Kodak site with pics of the trip to Italy! It has pics of both my time in Rome and the time in Sicily that Rob and I spent together. I hope you enjoy them!

New Pictures

Nothing too exciting to report from Rob today. He did mention that since leaving Djibouti they are doing a "no-shave" program. He's participating because of peer pressure, but it's truly driving him nuts. He doesn't think he'll last much longer. The things they do to keep themselves entertained while they're underway...!

He also sent a couple more pics. This one is from their Cyprus port visit. It's the beginning of the evening that ended up with him signing karaoke! The big guy is Bo, aka CHENG (Chief Engineer). I think he's 6'7" and originally from Sweden. The other guy is Rob's roommate Will (a helicopter pilot). Apparently Bo has a video of the karaoke incident, which Rob tried to email me, but it didn't work. Hopefully he tries again...I really want to see it!

The other pic is of the Navy base in Jordan that they pulled into. He had an interesting story to tell about Jordan.

"Found out when I got back from my tour that the King was yachting in the area and stopped briefly by the naval base. No one got to see him but the Jordanians were flipping out about it. We have had some of our guys working around the clock to try and fix one of their ship's AC. They finally got it working today and the general of the base told the king about it when he stopped by and the King sent a gift basket over to the engineers."

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Another Connection to Jordan

I didn't hear much from Rob today; I think it's probably been a boring but busy for them as they get underway again.

I have interesting news relating to my job, however. It looks like I will be going to Jordan in November as part of Operation Smile's "World Journey of Smiles." This is Operation Smile's 25th Anniversary, and in November, around the world, on the same day, at the same local time, we will conduct 40 missions in 25 countries, with the hope of treating an estimated 5,000 children with facial deformities. This is an incredibly ambitious goal, as this is equivalent to what we normally do throughout an entire year. I'm especially excited about going to Jordan as I've had a fascination with the country for several years now. I desperately hope that there will be time for a visit to Petra (although Rob's roommate Will, who is still sick from his tour to Petra, would probably advise against it!).

If you're interested in learning more about the World Journey of Smiles, there is information on our website:

Also, if you'd just like to learn more about Operation Smile and see what an impact we can make in a child's life, there is a great 4-minute video highlighting one of the thousands of children we've helped. Go to , then click on the "Thanh's New Day" video. Be sure to have a tissue handy! :-)

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

A Quick Stop for Fuel

Today the ship pulled into Djibouti for a brief fuel stop. (If you're wondering, Djibouti is in Eastern Africa, bordered by Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.) According to Rob's email, this quick visit is going to cause everyone to have to take malaria pills for the next 30 days, as Djibouti is home to the deadliest strain of malaria. They didn't stay long; they were gone by mid-afternoon. Rob says that since he didn't actually set foot on land, he can't mark it up as a place he's visited! Maybe we'll bend the rules this time...not too many people can say they've been to Djibouti!

Rob sent a few more pics from his day trip in Jordan. One is of camels roaming the desert (he said they were everywhere), and the others are from the special lunch that was prepared for them that day (chicken cooked in clay pots set in the ground).

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Rob's Recent Port Visits

After leaving Sicily, Rob's ship pulled into Cyprus for a few days. He was able to go out and about a couple times. It sounds like he had quite a bit of fun just getting off the ship for a while and eating something other than ship food! Apparently he was even coerced into performing some karaoke at a local pub one night! I would pay money to see that!

Then last week they pulled into Jordan. It was more of a working port, as they were doing training with the Jordanian Navy, but they did get to partake in some fun. He missed the tour to Petra since he had duty that day, but it sounds like he might be glad that he didn't get to go. About a quarter of the people who went on the tour got miserably ill afterward, including Rob's roommate. He did get to take a tour to Wadi Rum, however, which is a valley cut into the sandstone and granite rock in southwest Jordan. This is one of the pics from his tour.

They also attended a reception hosted by a Jordanian General at a yacht club. Sounds like they enjoyed excellent food, many drinks, and a performance by a bellydancer! I'm glad that he's getting to have SOME fun while he's underway.