Monday, March 29, 2010

March 29th 2010 – Back to Normal?

The medical delegation left yesterday morning and it is just too darned quiet here! Haha!

It was a FULL week. We had 4 clinics in 4 different cantons with a final clinic here in Berlin. In all, they served over 1,500 people. In the group of 27 people, there were 6 doctors, 3 dentists, a group of people helping with vision and also a pharmacy. They also did some basic hygiene and dental education.

We had 8 translators hired but I spent most of my time during the days as dental translator also.

I also served as the driver for the ‘set up’ crew each day and for the ‘mini excursion’ trips for the new folks. I was the liaison and trouble shooter for the Pastoral Team and community leaders who were helping out and I was the over-all ‘go-to’ person. I was pretty much one of the first ones up in the morning and had to be one of the last ones up at night to let the group back in from their times out getting some much needed diversion. (Since the Pastoral Team ladies are up at 4:30 each morning to clean and prepare breakfast and wash the doctor’s laundry each day, I didn’t think THEY should be the ones to have to let the group back in that late at night!)

It was a hectic week. And I would go to bed exhausted. And wake up exhausted if truth be told.

But it was a good week. They are a very caring group of people. And they serve a huge number of people. There are so many stories to tell about the week. Maybe I will just ‘bullet point’ some highlights and perhaps embellish another day:

- I extracted two teeth! ME! The dental phobic!
- I met a 90 some year old man who has relatively good health, and now looks WAY better after that tooth was extracted and is thinking about getting married again!
- I was amazed at the level of local involvement in most of the communities - Community members made themselves available to move things, set up shade tarps, organize the people or do whatever was asked of them!

I'm sure I'll think of all sorts of stories to tell.

So now I’m working on getting myself organized for my work trip back to the states. I am doing the pulpit time at 4 Sunday services (including two on Easter Sunday!), Dowling and Central Academy classes, the PW Spring Gathering, a couple of ‘supper-talks’ and a couple of Mission Committee meetings as well as the CompaƱeros meeting and Social Ministry Task Force meeting.

I do get to do a couple of fun things while I am in the states! I get to see my family and friends… I get to go to an Elton John concert and spend at least one day helping my sister move.

So now… I’d better get my ‘talks’ ready!!

Our first patient?

Confidence in our local helpers!

Me and my first tooth extraction!

Ok... this was kinda gross! But cool that I could try!

Lots of people patiently waiting for the consultations to begin!

Friday, March 19, 2010

March 19th 2010 – The Hours are Counting Down

8:00 a.m.

By this time tomorrow I will be on a bus on my way to San Salvador to the ‘Terminal Oriente’ (the Eastern Bus Terminal). From there, my friend Alfredo will pick me up in the large microbus at about 10 so we can be at the airport by 11.

Our medical delegation arrives at noon. But I need to get there earlier to ask for permission to enter the airport to talk with the customs people about the medicines they are bringing in. I need to do this before they land. I STILL don’t have the papers in my hands but Cecilia went to San Salvador this morning to get them.

Once the medical brigade gets here, it will be basically non stop. At least for them. I try to stay out of their way or help when I can. I try to determine first if I will actually be a help or a possible hindrance – they are such an organized group and have been working together (many of them) for years and have a great system of working together.

But it will be hectic. Organized chaos. All week. We have four canton clinics and one clinic here in Berlin. Last year they served over 1100 people. They are absolutely incredible.

So today – I’ll try to get totally caught up with things. Clear the desk of loose ends… maybe write a few generic blogs to post during the week in case I don’t have time to actually sit at the computer. I’ve already done my laundry so I’m off to a good start.

March 18th 2010 – Sad Day

Alisha left today. The stinker had an outgoing flight at 9 a.m. which meant we had to leave the house at 5 this morning …

And of course I had a hard time falling asleep last night. I think I’ve been just so wound up with a bunch of relatively stressful things: coffee contract negotiations, a two day delegation mid week, worrying about the medicines getting approved for our medical delegation, as well as the normal every day stuff … well. It’s been a busy couple of weeks. I think I’m just overly tired and my brain has a hard time shutting down sometimes.

And it was really hard to wake up this morning … I had my alarm set for 4:15. Uck. I was awake (sort of) even before the Patron Saint Festival noise makers!!!

It’s a little over two hours to get to the airport from here driving on decent, but windy mountain roads. And it is DARK out at 5 in the morning! Kind of cool though. There were lots of stars out. We picked up two walking women on their way home. Not sure where they were coming from at that hour of the morning!

Alisha was sort of quiet as well as talkative. She had some last minute questions – I couldn’t tell you what they were though … the whole day is like a blur. She got really quiet the closer we got to the airport. Actually, she kept dozing off.

It was VERY hard to see her go. She was a bit weepy. I certainly understand that feeling. She was here for 5 weeks and learned a lot. She really got a chance to get to know the Pastoral Team – especially the ladies. The Pastoral Team, one and all, grew to love her. Actually, it didn’t take very long for that to happen.

Alisha has a quirky and fun sense of humor … she is a hard worker … she did her own laundry … picked up after herself … pitched in … wanted to experience things of importance to the Team (like walking to each of their cantons!) She only missed one day of school and that was at their suggestion so she could attend the special mass in Alejandria.

She is already missed. But I know she’ll be back someday.

Another test... hopefully I'll get this figured out!

Here is another test...

I have to write my blog here is blogspot... and in theory it automatically ends up in the OSP site.

This is a test.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 18th 2010 - This is a Test

I'm checking out a new possible blog format. So I'm testing to see if I can add pictures and to see if our webmaster can put this link on our Our Sister Parish website.

So this is it for the text...

Now the picture attempt:

seems to have worked.
Cool. That is me and Alisha after our walk back up from Alejandria. We were hot and tired.