GBS 2017 – Day 5: Making the Plaster Molds

We all learned one thing today: hard work is necessary when work is hard. We fully came to understand the meaning of this as we dug into the dirty work of creating the positive molds of the castings we made yesterday. To create these plaster molds, we had to make the return journey from Zhuhai to Hong Kong. Although there lied difficult work ahead, the morning began on a calm note. We checked out of our hotel in Zhuhai at 9:30 am, making today the latest morning we have had on the trip thus far – a sweet appetizer before the hearty main course. After eating a quick breakfast at the hotel, we scurried onto two buses separated by teams. We shortly arrived at the ferry dock without much hassle. Smooth sailing and good company meant a quick ride over to Hong Kong.

Immediately upon arriving in Hong Kong, we took a bus to the PolyU campus, where we promptly began our work of creating positive plaster molds from the thermoplastic casting.  My team had two castings two fill and one AFO already fitted to a child that need modifying. I worked on the castings, and shortly gained an understanding and appreciation for the plaster filling process. First, the holes on the porous thermoplastic casting were covered with bandages. Then, the casting was filled with plaster, which was created using a 1:1 water to plaster powder ratio. File_000 (1)

If you are curious as to the function of the metal rod inserted in the middle of positive mold seen in the photo above, rest assured. It will be useful for our work tomorrow. After filling the negative molds, we sat the orthotics upright and left them to dry overnight. File_004

This was the end of our work in the lab for today, and we made our way back to the hotel. After checking in, a few of us went to the gym for an hour before treating ourselves to a relaxing swim in the pool and Jacuzzi overlooking the beautiful city. We then showered and caught a trolley to the downtown part of Hong Kong, where we indulged in an scrumptious, yet expensive, dinner. The star of the dinner was the duck, which you can see being cut in the photo below. File_000

This marked the end of Day  5, which I found very enjoyable and rewarding overall. As I end this post, I thought I would share a word of wisdom I have been lucky enough to learn. I have observed that we do not travel to escape life, but rather, for life not to escape us. Reach for your visions, and one day you will be dreaming, but your eyes will be open.


Vishal Tien


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