Sunday, February 26, 2012

He is a big deal and awesome

I was supposed to give a talk on service this past Thursday, but unfortunately it didn’t work out.  I was a little bummed, but I am looking forward to giving it this week.  So my mind has been focused on that lately.  In preparing for my talk, I also reflected on what exactly that means.  All of the volunteers have the spirit of service, or we wouldn’t have decided to live in Honduras for a year of our lives.  But, being here on the Ranch for over a month, the focus on the other person has gotten a little distracted.  For us newbies, there has been a lot of change and it’s easy to focus on that.  For the older volunteers, they have been here long enough, where things have just become “normal” and they may have lost sight of their first motivations for coming.

I said this in my previous post, but all of us are here for others, not for ourselves.  Yes, we will all learn a lot and experience even more, but that is most likely not the deciding factor on why we came.  We want to help the kids on the Ranch and the lives we touch in general.  God has called me to be here, and it’s so important to focus on that.  Great timing with Lent and everything, too.  This is the season where service is really hyped up and how important it is in our lives.  I want to be the best person I can be, so that I can fully give myself to the kids, tios, Hondurans that come to the clinic, the other volunteers, etc.  And, if I keep that as my focus, then everything will fall into place, and yes, the peace will come.  (I know, I know, I am repeating myself… but, as I also said, it’s important to hear the truth!)

My week was good.  I survived my first week without Heather even on the Ranch!  My favorite part of my mornings is doing the pre-clinic, where I take vital signs and do a mini triage, because I can practice my Spanish and meet some really interesting people.  The really old people are my fave, and are just so friendly and appreciative of our work.  The best is when the old ladies just go in for a hug and kiss on the cheek after I am finished.  It makes my heart smile.

I am starting to get the hang of my hogar.  It’s still awkward and frustrating at times, but when the boys are being sweet, everything is worth it.  I am starting to get to know some of my tias/tios, but the language still gets in the way.  One of them even gave me a beautiful Rosary bracelet!  I don’t really even know her that well, yet!  She is also the one who asked me if I was “really Catholic” when we first met.  So, she has already figured out that my faith is important to me, and that’s pretty cool.  (She said it’s because I get up for Communion at Mass, when many volunteers don’t, and I wear my crucifix ring a lot.)  It’s the little things that God uses to let people know that He is a big deal and awesome.  Good job, God, good job.

I also have had some good conversations with my fellow volunteers.  It’s so good to get to know the people that I will be spending all of this time with.  We are also so different in many ways, but it’s just so awesome to have this experience as a common thread.  It’s something that not anyone will be able to take away from us.  I can’t wait to be able to do more things together as a group.

I suppose I am starting to feel more at home here.  If you had asked me that when I first got here, I would have laughed.  I am not saying that everything is perfect and cozy and what not, but I am feeling like this is where I am supposed to be.  Huh, I wonder if that is what peace feels like?  I will have to ponder that a little more. :)

I still miss people like crazy, and wish I could just talk to everyone all of the time.  Please know that I am thinking about you, praying for you, and wishing I could call/text/drive over ALL of the time.  If any of you want to come and visit, please let me know!!!!  (hint, hint)

Adios por ahora!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Peace and Love

I have pondered many things since I have been here on the Ranch, and this week has been no exception.  Peace has been thrown around in my conversations with many people about my experience so far.  Is peace something you feel right away about something, or does it take time to make it’s way to your heart and soul?  I have been struggling to find that peace here, when I was so sure it was waiting for me before I came.  God called me to serve in this way, put the desire on my heart, so it just seems fitting that I would be at peace with what God wants.  Right?  Well, apparently not; not this time, with this thing in my life.   There are so many good things here, but I am just having this unsettled, restless feeling in my heart.  Because I know that this is what I am supposed to be doing, I have to be confident about feeling at peace with my decision, the people here, my life here, and having confidence in myself.  But, as everything else does in this new life, everything takes time.  The patience that I thought I had is surely being stretched to the max.  It’s just one of a gazillion things that I will learn about myself during the year.

Another interesting musing is that this whole experience is supposed to be about someone else, not me.  Yet, all I have been thinking about, worrying about and talking about (blog posts, case in point) have all been about ME.  Hm, a little selfish, huh?  I mean it’s easy to get sucked into it with ALL of the changes happening.  But, why am I here?  I am here to help others.  I am here to be with the kids.  I am here to help improve the health of Hondurans.  I am here for them, not for me.  I know I have mentioned this multiple times, but sometimes you have to hear/see/type the truth multiple times (and allow for the fogginess of change and being overwhelmed to clear) to really get the full impact.  I need to start changing my thinking to be more loving of others, to serve them, just as God calls all of us to do.  I think if I am able to do this, maybe the peace that I am looking for will bring a welcomed sense of calm to my heart.  Hmm, that would be nice.

On Thursday night we also had our first spiritual/faith/prayer meeting.  Apparently it was something that was started, but then never really continued last year.  So, the committee decided to start it back up with the new additions and dynamics to our community.  Seriously, God couldn’t have had better timing. :)  He is so good like that.  I just had a conversation with my friend, Martha, about feeling like I have no one to really talk about my faith with, and then last night we had our first meeting!   Awesome.  I think it has some great potential and I am really looking forward to seeing where God leads us individually and as a community.  We will meet weekly with each person discussing something, and guess who gets the first go at it?  Yup, that’s right… ME!  Good thing I lived in community after college, I’ve had a little practice.  Woo!

Please continue to pray for our community and NPH as a whole!  I will be praying for you!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

La Clinica Externa

This is where I work... in pictures. :)  Enjoy!

A view of the mountains just past my house.

The walk from talleres (middle school) to the main school.

My walk past the school, which is on the left.

And then through a little rough area.

The last bit to the clinic.  The building you see is the porton (front gate of the Ranch).

La Clinica Externa, it's 7am and people are already waiting.

The admission/checkout/pharmacy/treatment area.

The pre-clinic area (vital signs, glucoses, etc).  Side note: the computer doesn't have a purpose.

Treatment room.

Doctor's office.

Another consult room.

The patient charts and pharmacy.

Treatment room, where mostly injections and IVs get done.

There is also a lab attached to the external clinic, but I didn't take any pictures.  I will get pictures of the quirofono (surgery center) someday soon.  I hope you have enjoyed the tour! :)  

Friday, February 10, 2012

Overwhelmed already?

Well, this week has been an emotional one.  I had a few breakdowns at various times, where, yes, crying was involved.  As many of you know, this is not a new thing for me, but it’s a little embarrassing when I am still getting to know the people here, the people that I am going to spend the next year with.

I still can’t pinpoint exactly what has caused me to be so overwhelmed, but I guess there isn’t just one thing.  This life is just a huge change, there are still so many new things and I am not around my normal support system.  It’s hard to not always feel welcome and be expected to know what to already do.  It’s hard when people get frustrated when you don’t understand them, as in language.

I knew things were going to be hard, tiring, frustrating, but I wasn’t expecting to feel this overwhelmed so early on.   Every volunteer says that the first 3-4 months are rough.  This is comforting on one level, but completely daunting on another.  I just want to be past that point already!  I want to speak and understanding Spanish, I want to know where everything is and all the people that I am supposed to know.  Ah, patience… isn’t that something I am supposed to have here?  I know in my head that this time will come, but it’s hard to see clearly.

I was also a little stunned about the craziness of my hogar and not feeling very welcome there.  All of the volunteers say that this is their best part of the experience, but it can take a while.  Ah, yes, that patience thing again.  The last few nights have been really good, and I have gotten to cuddle with the boys.  They are really sweet when they are tired and falling asleep!  I am making some progress in getting to know a few of the tios/tias (uncles/aunts in Spanish, but this refers to the caregivers to the kids) that work with Casa Suyapa, but the language thing gets in the way.

This is also the time where I really have to reach down deep and make the effort to pray and turn to God.  I know He is there for me, but I need to put forth the effort and draw my strength, courage and peace from Him.

Even though I may sound a little depressed here, be assured that I am not!  I am feeling better, and am overall doing well.  These moments will come and go throughout my time here, and that is to be expected. 

One last thing, this morning I went to make coffee and the entire coffee pot was completely overrun by cockroaches.  Yes, it was disgusting.  Apparently, that’s just what they do… and I will “get used to it.”  Um, we will see about that.  I think I might buy myself a small one and keep it in my room, in a plastic thing… or something.

Oh wait, just kidding... this is my last thing... this weekend will mark 1 month here at NPH!

Yup, this Honduran Adventure is plugging along. :)

Friday, February 03, 2012

A few updates

Well, it's been a little while since I was able to post.  This week was my first week in the clinic with Heather.  Overall, it went well.  I have had a few moments when I felt the exact same as I did when I first started working at Children's- overwhelmed, I don't know anything and I am inadequate!  Ha, BUT it's part of the process and I know it will get better.  Everything just has an added barrier due to language.  Again, it will just take some time.

On Monday, all of the volunteers ventured into the city to visit an IHNFA home, which is the child welfare system.  It's in rough shape.  These kids come in from off the streets and are only allowed to stay for 3 months, and then are "placed" in another home.  The home we visited was the boys, 12-18, and most of them are on their 6th, 7th, maybe even 8th visit.  The place has no water to shower with.  They don't go to school while they are there.  If they are addicted to drugs or alcohol, they have no detox program.  So, the kids here on the Ranch, really have it made.  It was a good eye opening experience.

After that visit we went to the basilica, where a feria (basically a big flea market type thing) was happening because of the Virgin de Suyapa's feast day, which is today.  The kids here on the Ranch actually had a procession and then we had Mass.  It was nice.

There were guards protecting the statue of the Virgin... I thought it was interesting.

My birthday was good!  It was a low key day, where I actually forgot a few times if you can believe it! :)  But, after Hogar, it was really nice.  I had bought myself a Fun-fetti Cake to make for myself because I didn't want to make a big deal about my birthday around people that I don't really know.  But, to my surprise, two other volunteers, Gina and Lydia made me a pineapple cake from scratch!  It was really good, and so, so kind.  And, Amanda had taken my Captain Zoom CD (yes, the song that my mom plays for me every year on my birthday) and had someone play it as the cake was brought out.  It was a GREAT moment!  I was a little more embarrassed than I thought I was going to be... but everyone seemed to enjoy it, even though they had no idea what it was!  All of these people are new, and we don't really know each other, and they were so sweet to want to celebrate  with me!  It was a great evening.  Thank you to all of you for the wonderful emails, Skype dates and FB messages/posts.

Blowing out the candles, obviously.

Mmm... stuffing my face.  That hasn't changed!

My awesome card that Amanda made and everyone signed!

Everyone! :)  I am not sure why it was so blurry.

My Hogar is Casa Suyapa, on the boys side.  So, I have the littlest boys on the ranch!  I will be with them the whole year.  Yesterday was a little crazy, not going to lie.  But, that, too, can only get better! :) I have another weekend off, because we were also assigned our weekends on and off (turnos), and I am Turno B... this weekend is Turno A.  I actually think I will sleep in tomorrow, and I am looking forward to it! :)  I also may venture into Tegus, because I really need some more food!

I know I owe you all pics of my house, but I am going to wait until I move into my permanent room.  And, give me a little bit before I give you a tour of my walk to the clinic, the clinic itself and the Ranch. I will do that soon, I promise!

Still miss you all!