I almost don’t want to write this. I feel really guilty. My last post was December 20, 2015. I’m sure that you all thought I was done. It isn’t that I haven’t been writing. It seems that every moment that has not been dedicated to other parts of our job, has been consumed by writing. It’s only that I haven’t been writing in this blog. Our job, and my writing of blogs, newsletters, and specific requests for volunteers and funds, has been consuming. Laura and I are watching “Suits” on Netflex (this is an incredible treat for us when we have electricity and internet). On the episode we watched last night, the grandmother of the main character is stood up by her grandson for a scheduled dinner. His only excuse was that his work was so consuming that he forgot what day it was. His grandmother looks at him, as only a grandmother can, and says with a wide, sincere smile, “Your work is important to you.” This, of course, is often a bad thing; to become so defined by your work as to dishonor relationships of love. Still, in this case, the grandmother understood that his work was defining for him in a positive way. Such is the case here in Honduras for Laura and me. We have the best jobs in the world. They pay us pretty much nothing. We are met with frustration almost every day. There is no water. There is no electricity. The car has broken down. Not to mention (I mean seriously don’t mention) scorpions. Ah, the good life. But, I get to meet people everyday who are committed to doing their part to make the world a better place. I get to go to bed every night knowing that I was part of trying to make the world a better place. In light of that, not having a lot of money, or not being able to cook dinner because the lights have gone out, seem like very small prices to pay for the sense of integrity I gain. So that is why I haven’t been as faithful to this blog as I would have liked.
Some of the incredible things we’ve been involved in since January have been service trips. We’ve had eleven of them since the year began and seven in the month of February. We had a first time ever surgical brigade. We had over thirty persons come to Camasca on a single trip. I’ve seen amazing things. I’ve heard inspiring stories. I’ve met people with multiple PhD’s who have traveled the world. I’ve met young medical students who have so much energy and desire to change the world. I believe they will. I’ve also met simple people who have found some relief from tremendous suffering because they and we are with them. And at very particular moments I’ve been humbly grateful that I had something to offer.
In a very isolated village called Las Marias in the southernmost territory we cover, Laura and I visited one of the teams holding a field medical clinic. We mostly just take pictures or stay out of the way. But on this occasion, I did have opportunity to sit down with a grandmother who had brought her two grandchildren for care. The grandmother was not there for herself, but rather to try to get some medical and dental care for the children. She did mention, however, that she was having trouble sleeping and asked if she could have some sleep medication. When the team member went off to find her some sleep medication, I took the opportunity to sit down with her. Good social worker that I am, I asked her about her sleeping problems. Her insomnia had begun two months ago. I questioned, “Was there anything extraordinary that happened two months ago around the same time you began having difficulty sleeping?” “Why yes,” she said in an almost surprised way, “it was right after my son and daughter were killed.” I spent a good deal of time with her. I think I gave her a little insight into what was going on. I offered a few relaxation techniques. I found out who her supports were in her community. In the States I could have referred her for some counseling. But, here, well suffice it to say, we do the best that we can. In any case, I think I might have helped and I felt extremely grateful that I would be returning to my home where I may, or may not, have electricity and water.
So this is our work. Pretty awesome, right? Of course we don’t always work. We have friends and we go on vacation. We spent a few days in March in Roatan for a planning retreat with our leadership team and the President of our Board, Wayne, and his wife, Christina. We had a great time. Wayne had opportunity to do some scuba diving. Laura and I were not quite as adventurous. We did get to experience the undersea coral, however, taking an hour cruise in a glass bottom boat. What incredible beauty lies hidden only a few feet beneath what we can see from the surface. Laura managed to spot three sea turtles. It was a great treat to see something so extraordinary and for a few moments Laura and the rest of us rediscovered the joy of youth when all things are new.
Well, I’ll go back to work now. I wonder what breath-taking beauty I will find today just below the surface.