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Mission of Hope

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Friday, February 20th, 2009

By Bonnie Black
Time is getting short here in Nicaragua and much is to be done between today and tomorrow.

Kitchen crew was Diane Rolfs, Ashley Lamberton, Alex Munn and Carole Becker while Bed Bath and Beyond was handled by Meg Ryan, Jena Finnegan, Matt Daly and Matt Kennedy.

Painting at Carlos’ house were Jena Finnegan, Matt Kennedy, Bill Calmbacher, Mary Garcia, Bill Murray and Matt Daly. Electrical work there was continued by Brian Mulcahy and Jeremy Dumont. It’s beginning to take shape as a bright and cheery haven – and storage space!

The last day for Mission 31 at the Parajito Azul Disability Center had our ‘regulars’ Sr. Steph and Bev Gogola joined by Sam Mulcahy and Ashley Lamberton. The Disability Center also had electrical projects to finish which were started yesterday. Allen Pellerin, Jimmy Dumont, Rachel Daly and Phil Lamour worked on those projects all morning and left with it all completed!

Painting at the Paul Harris School was completed by Marty Mannix, Mike Carrier, Karen Amy, Connie Miller, Sarah Deeb, Pat Daly and Kathy Eppler.

Stakes were cut and created for the ECO projects by a local with a machete, so we weren’t involved in that.

Final preparations on our end for the Farewell Ceremony were handled by Meg Ryan, Sarah Scardillo, Demi Pellerin and Gabby Flores.

Joy Cayea, James Carlin, Betsy Sullivan and Adam Peryer went out into the community to work on the community gardens as part of our ECO project.

A Women’s Health Clinic was held at CARITAS both in the morning and the afternoon. The morning staff were Sarah Clancy, Kristin Gagnier, Cathy Hill, Tracy Orkin, Kate Patnode and Nicky Lundy. In the afternoon, Tracy Orkin, Cathy Hill, Connie Miller, Catherine Hill, Kate Patnode and Mary Gleason staffed the clinic. The remaining medical staff worked on preparing the Health Fair in the morning along with others: Roger Patnode, Mary Gleason, Amanda Knauf, Siobhan Norton, Catherine Hill and Sr. Cathy.

The Farewell by the students for us was held at 11am in the school auditorium.

A special trip to the Franciscan sisters who we encountered looking for us Wednesday walking the road looking were Pat Daly, Jena Finnegan, James Carlin, Joy Cayea and Ashley Lamberton. James donated rice and beans to their feeding project and Jena contributed the balance of her fundraiser monies to them, too. Patrick had a Beanie Baby project which also included a Starburst and stickers bags for the 50 children which were accepted with glee. The delivery to the Franciscans was a couple of trips due to the amount of materials that we were able to donate from the container contents.

The trip to the Dermatology Center took off early afternoon with Oscar Flores, Roger Patnode, Allen Pellerin, Bill Calmbacher, James Carlin, Rachel Daly, Jimmy Dumont, Bill Murray, Matt Kennedy, Sam Mulcahy, Brian Mulcahy, Matt Daly and Rachel Daly going for a tour and to assess the work to be done with the donations from the Diocese of Ogdensburg. All returned to their preassigned tasks when they got back.

There was an educational meeting in the afternoon at Nejapa similar to the one that was held yesterday at Nino Jesus de Praga. Attending a meeting at the Mother of the Divine School in Nejapa on future Education collaboration were Kristin Gagnier, Sarah Clancy and Sarah Deeb.

Our all around “Men at Work” this afternoon were Allen Pellerin, Jimmy Dumont, Matt Daly and Brian Mulcahy. This crew was able to complete the rest of the ‘odds and ends’ that needed to be done including one of the women’s showers.

Designations were set for tomorrow’s Health Fair in Nejapa: King = Roger Patnode, Health Fair Leaders – Bill Calmbacher, Jeremy Dumont, Bev Gogola, Nicky Lundy, Health Fair Helpers – Adam Peryer, Siobhan Norton, Kathy Eppler, Sarah Scardillo, Bill Murray, Sr. Steph, Meg Ryan, Mary Garcia, Phil Lamour, Rachel Daly, Betsy Sullivan, Sr. Cathy, Demi Pellerin, Gabby Flores and Amanda Knauf.

At this evening’s meeting, it was noted that four adults (Nicky Lundy, Bev Gogola, Bill Murray and Roger Patnode) will be needed to do tomorrow morning’s schedule for Matt and Sam. Nicky spoke about the Nun from Diriamba who is ill. Jim, her husband and past President of NCMOH, is studying to be a Deacon. When they were at a chapel praying, God told Jim to follow Nicky in her heart because something was going to happen in Nicaragua. Jim said that he knew what that something was, but that Nicky would have to find out for herself. Nicky decided that the sign she was to take the Nun into her home along with another nun as an escort (she has a church in her backyard and she is a nurse).

This is an invitation for us to assist, visit, drive, help, etc when we are back in the Plattsburgh area. Thank you, Nicky and Jim! Now, Sr. Debbie needs to work on the medical visa; we don’t know how we are going to pay for this (will there be grants, good Samaritan, etc?) Roger Patnode and Tracy Orkin have already volunteered to network to find medical services.

While in town today, Sister Debbie ordered the baby chairs and picked up the hammocks at the market – she bought two extra hammocks ‘just in case.’

Sister Debbie’s usual market assistant, Jonan, is still in Costa Rica where he left to seek work and therefore will not be at the market on Sunday. The good news is, though, he is bringing his family back to Nica in a few weeks.

Joy suggested that the remaining rosaries can be given away at Mass tomorrow.

Karen and Mike, Rotarians from New Jersey, are leaving tomorrow morning - thank you! Karen said they are very impressed with our work and thank us for our hospitality.

Health Fair table assignments were designated among all of those who will be part of the event.

Sister Debbie shared that she escorted the educational trip to the dump. They saw a wildfire in the lagoon. Mauricio said that it was the wind’s fault, like in Australia. They went to the back rim of La Chureca. Adam Peryer took a picture of a boy standing on a high cement wall above the “cesspool,” with the garbage bags on the other side. In the bus, they talked about broken dreams and excesses in their own lives. Mauricio said that it never gets easy to see the dump no matter how many times he goes there. Sister Debbie is sorry that the students had to see such a horrible thing, but she also knows that we have to be educated.

Betsy also went to the dump. She told us that one of the mothers on the compound showed her a permission slip – Nino Jesus de Praga is starting a program where they take a bus over to the dump and pick up some kids and then go play soccer with them.

Sister Debbie mentioned that we have helped out the dump medical clinic, and have worked with a Methodist group that is working there. She then noted that if we walk away from the dump with emotions unchanged, we are tourists. If we take away an emotional experience and the want to help others and change the world, then we are not tourists.

Bill shared that it is a good feeling to be with this group. He passed out his verbal judos: Bed bath and beyond – everyone chips in and gets it done. When he came back from painting, Kathy Eppler and Connie Miller had already done most of the work with luggage, Ashley Lamberton is a great engineer, Mary Garcia painted Carlos’s house even though birds and bats were flying around her – thank you to everyone.

Sarah Deeb, Sarah Scardillo and Kristin Gagnier went to one of the classrooms in Nejapa to observe an English teacher teach a class using the immersion technique. She wanted to know if any of us would ever want to talk to her students so that they could practice English. Sarah Clancy noted the English teacher in Nejapa is doing an excellent job despite the fact that she has few resources and huge class sizes.

Sister Debbie expressed her happiness that we finally have success in Nejapa, even though they were feeling discouraged back in January when she and 4 others made a pre-trip.
Meg Ryan mentioned how hard the cooks have been cooking dinner for us in the school kitchen. They love getting compliments and like to give away their recipes.

Sr. Debbie mentioned that Jairo is Nora’s husband, and they are the parents to Alyson. Jairo has diabetes and Nora works 3 jobs to take care of their family.

Roger Patnode shared that he joined others at the Dermatology Center this afternoon. Leprosy is truly known as “Hansen’s Disease.” They were walking through the part of the center where the lepers live, and they saw students sitting on wooden chairs with buckets near them where their wounds were debrided. They said that they needed chairs, and Roger asked them why they wouldn’t rather have an exam table. They said that they never even thought it would be possible to have an exam table. And to think, we have six or eight exam tables sitting at MOHTown in Plattsburgh! It’s overwhelming to see how much help they need at the Dermatology center, but we can at least make a drop in the bucket.

Bev Gogola told us that we brought a big white blanket/pad down to Nica for the Disability Center. When we were packing it, nobody knew what it could possibly be used for. When they went to the Center today, 12 little children were receiving their physical therapy on that blanket.

Allen Pellerin told us the disability center electric projects are now completed. He considers the whole place to be an electrical hazard and is glad that we were able to contribute to the safety of the residents.

Marty Mannix shared that he and Mike and Karen went to the Tiscapa Rotary meeting last night. It felt a little awkward because the members of this Rotary club were so incredibly appreciative. One member of the club said that he had been at a governmental meeting where the Mayor of Chiquilistagua raved about MOH and how much we have done for his community. As soon as this person stopped talking, another woman stood and talked about how she is on the Board of the children’s hospital, and told about the lab that we set up for them. We did this project using materials from the air base that were otherwise going to be thrown away. This is an example of how the Mission is truly growing and spreading and effecting so many people.

Connie Miller went to Caritas today. We donated five machines, but nobody knew what they were or what they were used for, and it was very funny. Dr. Yamilette was impressed with our plastic speculums, and wished that she had some. Dr. Orkin has a case of them sitting in Plattsburgh that could be donated.

Diane Rolfs thanked everyone who helped out in the kitchen today including those who were not on the actual crew.

Closing prayer was offered by Siobhan Norton and Demi Pellerin…and so, the next to last evening meeting of Mission 31 came to conclusion. We all are looking forward, with mixed emotions, to our last day of work tomorrow.

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