We expected that today would be challenging even before it began. As you probably know, Zoe was born with a congenital heart problem called DORV with VSD. Although quite rare, and usually fatal if left untreated, Zoe's heart was fixed by a highly trained team of cardiologists at a hospital in Shanghai when she was two. It's a very long story….and one that we are happy to share if you have questions, but it is a miracle that she survived to the age of two to begin with. Political and financial pressures forced her to be separated from her birth family when her health condition was in a very poor state, and cared for by the Social Welfare Institute in China. Another miracle came in the form of a company called Ai You, founded by a wealthy business man from China named Wang Bing. His mission is to provide free surgeries to children born with heart disease throughout China….literally giving them life. This charity is completely funded by Mr. Bing and his wealthy friends, and has saved nearly 13,000 children in China over the last few years. Zoe is one of them.
Zoe has spent more time in a hospital setting already than most of us will in our entire lives. I would imagine that much of this time was alone, without the comfort of family, parents, etc. to explain and experience this trial with her. In order to obtain a visa to travel to the USA in a few days, our country requires her to have and pass a full medical exam. As we walked into the clinic, it appeared that much of her past fear and anxiety came out. She proceeded from station to station, getting weighed, measured, poked, and examined. She was already keyed up when they drew her blood, and it took nearly 30 minutes and several m&m's to calm her down.
Back at the Garden Hotel, the clinic visit becoming a distant memory, we took a walk down one of the streets, grabbed a quite bite to eat, and admired some of the city. This part of Guangzhou is quite a bit cleaner, and a little more modern than what we have experienced so far on this journey. This is what is referred to as one of China's larger cities, with over 10 million people, and is a big hub for business folks from all over the world. We don't "stick out" quite as much here! For a change, we tried to find the most out of place food we could….our guide recommended a place called Tekila's, which had excellent Mexican food.