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Mission of Hope

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Daily Journal: Thursday, July 28, 2011

By Bonnie Black
Another beautiful sunrise as the Kitchen Crew rose to get everything ready for the Team (yes, I am also up working in the Oficina catching up on photos from yesterday!). Those who have the privilege of feeding us today are: Joan, Mary, Alexandra and Dan.

Our morning meeting was a quick one with lists, lists and more lists! We signed up for the organic coffee that is grown at the farm down the road, we signed up to see our sponsored students on Sunday, and we finalized the order for the chairs and hammocks that we began last night. The owner and his wife from Finca La Francia arrived near the end of our meeting for the coffee order.

This morning’s prayer reflection was given by Jeanne who had us think about the Good Samaritan parable. She noted that we need to be helpful as so many are in need; anything that we do this week is positive – we need to do all we can…and then, we were off to start Day #2.

BBB was handled throughout the day by Charles and Stephen in the Men’s Dorm and Colleen with Missy for the Women.

Barbara Dobilas left this morning to spend the day and evening at the Angels of Hope Orphanage in El Crucero as she manages our Orphans’ Hope Project. Others will join her tomorrow morning for most of the day.

This morning, Sister had a meeting at Colegio Niño Jesus de Praga at 7:30am with the sponsored 5th Secondary students regarding service to the Mission, community, school or church. She explained that in the US we stress service to school and community and the Mission is going to expect service such as one afternoon of volunteer work here at the Clinic when it is opened from each of them to assure that the yard area is clean, the bathrooms are for one person at a time and left clean. We recently had to replace a sink in the Men’s Room which had been pulled off of the wall, so our Leadership Team agreed that having ‘monitors’ would be a good idea. With the number of sponsored students at Niño, each should only have to volunteer one afternoon every 6 or 7 months. Service, proper conduct and good grades are what she emphasized at the meeting – it’s about bettering themselves and the community. Sister Rosa and Magaly, who were also at the meeting, will be coordinating these efforts.

She then had a 9am meeting at Parajito Azul accompanied by Fabricio, Liz and Bill M. regarding the specific criteria of Dorothea Haus Ross Grant we were given for this year. The Director wasn’t in as she had a medical emergency this morning, but was returning soon – so they waited. Sister then received a call letting them know they could meet with MINSA regarding the suitcase that was taken at the airport on Tuesday night, so she left Bill M. at Pajarito with Fabricio to discuss the grant with the Director when she returned, while Sister and Liz went with Mauricio to MINSA. We were asked for a list of everyone on Mission and their occupations – it’s good we collect all that info up front as I was able to type the letter while they continued to meet. We found that now we cannot add any more donations nor personnel within 60 days of arriving in the country. It is definitely different than ever and may lead our Leadership Team to make a decision next month on a more formal alliance with CARITAS rather than the government.

This morning we had a group heading out on Rice & Beans with Maritsa along with a Medical Team doing outreach: Sarena, Stephen, Stefanie, Connie, Cathy, Judy, Angie, Lou and Anna. They visited 14 homes in the Chiquilistagua area and provided medical attention at a few.

We also had a group that went to Pajarito Azul for our second day: Sister Stephanie, Bev, Heather, Ashley, Sam and Darcy.

Bill C. was finishing up his organization of the First Responder supplies in storage this morning and caught up on some of the ‘little’ jobs he has wanted to do.

Working at sorting Home Construction supplies for the 9 shelters we will build were Ross, Jeanne and Charles, along with Alix.

Priming the external remaining walls this morning were Brendee, Colleen and Missy guided by Chris. Chris had begun the morning working with Bill on the job that I was interested in most – and you should be too! – hunting down the issues with the Internet here. Bill M. and Chris took that on even before the morning meeting but could not find the problem before their 9am assignments. Bill and I worked on it just before dinner (when I had the opportunity to be up the road and send the prior Journal) and then again after our evening meeting. Still, to no avail.

This afternoon our Rice & Beans crew was Jeanne, Charles, Brendee, Colleen, Bill C, and Bev. They headed to Monte Verde with Maritsa and saw 20 families.

Working in the Clinic doing student exams from Colegio Niño Jesus de Praga were Connie, Cathy and Anna. Judy prepared for the vision exams that will be done on 8-year-olds tomorrow over at Niño.

Our first in-the-field Home Crew was to be Darcy, Ross, Missy, Alix and Angie, but after having waited over 2 hours with the 9 family members for the crew chief who didn’t show, and the torrential rain that occurred with lightning and thunder, we called off the project for today. We found out that Oscar was working today, but he promised to be here at 8am for the whole day. So, we hope for tomorrow!

And, yes, more yardwork was done this afternoon by Stefanie, Stephen, Ashley and Bill M. Removing the big mound from the yard is taking a bit longer than planned on paper ;~)

Painting around the facility were Sam, Heather, Chris, Lou and Sarena, focusing on the lower trim in the front of the facility. They were joined later by Darcy, Missy and Angie putting primer on the cracks in the breezeway walls that had been patched after the February earthquake.

Sister, Liz and Fabricio gave Jonan the order for chairs and hammocks, then had appointments with our Nicaraguan lawyer, and then on to ANF with their Administrator. They found out that there is a new ‘top guy’ in Miami and they hope he will be able to make a positive change from the situation at hand. Right now, all of the CMMB (Catholic Medical Mission Board) donations come into Nicaragua through ANF (the American-Nicaraguan Foundation). ANF is insisting that they need to control where the donations go and not us. So, Sister will be meeting with the Director of CMMB in NYC as ANF has implied they must have control and final say. She told us later at the meeting that we will continue to control what is donated to us and not relinquish it to the government, the church nor ANF.

Sister is hoping to get the 2 missing suitcases from Continental sometime tomorrow.

Tonight Sister opened the meeting hoping that we continued to connect with the breath of life, inhaling the blessings of the day and exhaling the frustrations. She noted her sense of relief upon returning ‘home’ this evening – a sense of knowing that the day had passed and she could now feel comfortable.

She filled us in on their going from one appointment to the next and sometimes waiting and waiting! When they had returned to the lawyer’s office this afternoon to pick up the document on which he had been working in the morning, he wasn’t there. After phoning him and being told he was returning, they waited almost an hour and he didn’t return. They then went to the bank to make a deposit – it’s a process here: announce yourself at the guarded door, go wait in line and wait and wait. She asked us to reflect on the people we serve – how long they wait for the basics like food and justice.

Sam began our sharing time with a reflection on yesterday’s Rice & Beans excursion. They went to a family where she and Stephen recognized they had built a home shelter last year. They weren’t sure if the woman would remember them – and she told them she wasn’t sure they would remember her! Sister said it is just another example of the thinking the poor are invisible. This woman is so proud of her house and showed them how she had improved it: wooden walls around the tin and the sponsor’s picture still in a prominent place. A great affirmation of the pride she has gained through the provision of a home for herself and her family.

Angie and Judy, on two different outreach experiences, saw people who had white rats as pets. Neither could really ‘get it’ – the people were letting the rats run up and across their arms and shoulders. Very different!

Ross extended thanks to Alix and Jeanne and Charles for their efforts this morning on the home shelter supplies and then on the yardwork.

Judy told us that when she sees a home where they have nothing and see the passion and caring they have for us as we share the same emotions with them, it is very moving.

Alex took her first step off of the compound today accompanying Bill C. to Victoria’s to drop off some laundry. When she shook her hand, she felt the arthritis and how rough her hands were. She wondered what we could do for someone who has worked with us for so long.

Ashley found her trip to the Disability Center upsetting today as she watched the staff take care of the children. Heather, though, had an uplifting experience there as a teacher came up to her intent on meeting the person who provided the TEACCH materials to the Center a couple of years ago. She told Heather than she is bartering classes in Dance Therapy for learning the curriculum that she sees having a positive impact on the children. How heart-warming!

Charles remarked that he was impacted by the happiness of children who were so happy after receiving a single ‘Silly Bandz’ from him when he was out on Rice & Beans. Sister noted that happiness is not based on what we have, but rather on what we share.

Jeanne made an interesting observation: so many women in the third trimester that they encountered on Rice & Beans this afternoon. She said she could see they were doing the best they can with so little.

Liz provided tonight’s closing reflection which was an excerpt from Steinbeck’s, “East of Eden” about the 16 verses in the fourth chapter of Genesis. Two men reflect on the promise, the order or the choice.

Sister closed our meeting noting we have a choice – and thanked us for making the choice to come on Mission #42.


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