By Bonnie Black
Oh, well, it was nice while we had it. The internet worked well late last night and I was able to update all of you with the Daily Journals and post photos of this mission on Facebook and send others to the Press Republican. But…when I booted up the computer this morning, it seems that we lost the connection beyond this facility. Bill M. got my computer (which is hardwired to the router) to recognize it, but could not get the connection back up the road to function. I hope by the time I want to send this tonight, I can do so.
This morning, we welcomed Josh to our circle and Mission #42! He also brought with him the 2 missing suitcases from Continental, so there is only one suitcase not here – the one confiscated by MINSA. Sister then mentioned that we will have many guests Monday night for our ‘thank you/goodbye’ with our partners, so tomorrow night is our true last night of sharing and prayer together.
In order to clarify the hiccups we ran into the last couple of days on Rice & Beans delivery, Sister discussed the policy which is one bag of each for every 4 people in a family. She and I then had a meeting with Magaly and Mauricio (plus Fabricio and Liz to translate) a bit later and personnel has now been changed as of today.
We reviewed the potential trips for Monday and a sign-up sheet is going to be passed around at tonight’s meeting. Bill M. will not be joining us as he needs to visit the Pajarito Azul farm for the Dorothea Haus Ross Grant. We also heard the ‘tips’ about shopping the various markets and the variety of choices.
Morning prayer was guided by Sam who chose to share “One Day”. She has found it to be a centering song for herself when stressed at school or life gets too tense. She and her friend, Caitlin Houle (a mission veteran), have shared this together. “It’s not about win or lose – you can lose your way – but, don’t let it get you down. Sometimes in my tears I drown, but I never let it get me down. One Day there will be no more wars, no more fighting, people will be free and sing a song of freedom. All my life I have been praying for, waiting for the people to say…one day.” Those aren’t the exact words, but you get the idea. A wonderful way to begin the day with clarity of purpose.
Sister closed asking that we focus our prayers on Alyson who will be moving, permanently, from Juan Pablo II to the Angels of Hope Orphanage in El Crucero this afternoon. Barbara will be accompanying her to the older children’s orphanage where she has brought her on excursions before. We will pray for her to find permanent love with the nuns there which her mother does not seem to be able to share with her although she brings her toddler there daily and brings him back home, while leaving her there. Abandoned, orphaned, continuous loss – all emotional trauma. Colleen did a fundraiser at her parish that provided over $100 to Juan Pablo II which was already delivered to keep the children who actually live there well cared for.
Students whom we sponsor at various vocational, technical and academic schools arrived this morning for their annual photos with Sister. She held a meeting regarding our expectations of service, like we asked of the secondary students the other day. Immediately afterward, Dayana came up to Sister and, in her impeccable North-American dialect, she volunteered to translate for us today and tomorrow when families will be coming for their sponsor gifts. THAT’s what we’re talking about! She noted that the students this morning told her they were studying engineering, accounting, graphic design. She recalled that most spoke English and they acknowledged they need the fluency in order to obtain longevity in their desired vocation.
Then, she had a long and tearful meeting with a woman many of us know in the community who has been severely abused. The violence against women in this country rose 40% in the past year with no options available. Recently, though, there was a group of women who tried to get harsher laws against intimate partner violence, but it never got out of committee to the National Assembly for discussion.
So, here was today’s TO DO list:
Kitchen was Bev, Ross, Alix and Brendee; BBB was Bill C, Charles, Darcy and Judy. At Pajarito Azul were Josh, Cathy, Joan and Alex.
Home shelters in the morning were Colleen, Heather, Lou, Jeanne and Barbara. The first house was built for Xiomara Medrano in Barrio Solano with a donation from Colleen. The second in Barrio Solano was constructed for Carlos Rocha/Tatiana Solis with a donation from Heather.
Tackling the primer in the second Moore Suite room this morning were Ashley, Judy and Bill C.
At the Dermatological Center all day were Stephen, Sam, Sarena, Mary, Charles, Dan, Chris and Bill M. painting a couple of rooms and the long hallway. Morning Rice & Beans were distributed by Stefanie, Darcy, Angie and Missy in Monte Verde. Out with Sister Debbie this morning were Liz and Anna. They bought the beds and nightstands for the Moore Suite now ready to be placed in the sick bay area as soon as the painting is completed tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Liz was conniving and used the plastic scorpion tucked under the folders on the dashboard to create a ‘scene’ in the truck. That story got us all laughing at tonight’s meeting.
A short trip to Juan Pablo II was made by Alex, Stefanie, Missy, Colleen, Cathy, Heather and Barbara.
This afternoon’s Home Shelter Crew was Ashley, Joan, Connie and Angie. The first home was built for Jessica Rivas Osorio and Romano Urbina here in Chiquilistagua with funds from the Peru Knights of Columbus. The second home was also here – right around the corner – for Xiomara Castillo/Jose Alberto Maltez with a donation from John & Shannon Alexandrou. Rain certainly affected Home Crew today although the first group was on their way back from lunch when it poured, the afternoon group actually didn’t make it back – and neither did the truck which was stuck in the mud from the sudden, torrential rain, while there was also lightening and thunder. The last house was left incomplete by the crew of locals who also sought shelter fast. The flash flooding caused Angie, Ashley, Connie and Joan to have to make their way through ‘the bush’ rather than the instantly flooded road. They went through barbed wire and got to a muddy hill where they joined hands, then made a human chain, due to how slippery and steep it was. As they were partially down, a huge crack of lightening occurred and Connie pulled Angie and Ashley while Joan was pulled the other way distracted by the flowers! Seriously, the reality was safety had to be first, not completion of the job. Angie said that she has observed that the teams scheduled this Mission have had a balance of safety-minded people on them. The locals will finish the house tomorrow, if it ever lets up with the rain. Hopefully, we can get some photos for the donors before we leave in the middle of Tuesday morning.
Bill C. went to the Red Cross for a meeting; Jeanne was on suitcase prep while Judy, Darcy and Lou worked on cleaning up the yard.
Our evening meeting was held inside of the kitchen due to the dark clouds still above – we didn’t want to risk being under a metal roof with open sides if a similar weather pattern occurred. While we were meeting, and for the rest of the night, the heavy rains continued past bedtime.
Sister reviewed some details and Sister Stephanie thanked Bev for counting out the M&Ms which were donated by one of the parents so that everyone had a personal pack of treats.
Our trips on Monday were decided to be Mombacho and Masaya National Park. It came out almost evenly split, so that will work well with our van capacity.
Before sharing, Sister asked if anyone had missed their cell phone this week. There wasn’t one who felt they had.
Mary noted she saw two of the kids in the family that her family sponsors and she enjoyed having that opportunity.
Charles told us that ‘it’ was Dan’s fault: he encouraged some of the small children to take his hat leading to a chase. It was an interesting time in the rain. Ross said that this has been the best time with the kids – everyone was playing together not segregated into various parts of the courtyard the way it used to be over at Niño. I thought it was interesting how the boys expressed so much joy in the experiences they have had in our yard during this mission.
A comment was made about how the Dermatological Center (as well as other hospitals) use plastic chairs with bicycle wheels to make functional wheelchairs. Although it is sparse, it is very clean.
The group that went to Juan Pablo II noticed the improvement in the conditions there. Heather noted the broken toys were gone, the mold is no longer visible and it appears in better condition. The sisters are looking for a piece of land that could be in a better part of town.
The question came up about sponsoring students and Sister gave us information on how to do it.
On a lighter note, Jeanne saved Darcy from another spider today by removing it from a suitcase they were about to prepare for return travel before Darcy could see it.
Cathy told us she got to go to Pajarito Azul for her first time in her many missions and fully enjoyed it…then, this afternoon, she got to hold a 40-day-old in her arms at the baby orphanage which felt so good. Joan thanked Josh for showing her how to give the children at Pajarito Azul a therapeutic massage to release their tensed muscles.
Darcy and Connie chose for tonight’s closing prayer a song written for the Mission by veteran Joe Lewis in 2009. It is simply called, “Joe’s Song,” but it carries the emotions of all of us for now we are all Mission veterans able to reflect on the lyrics and have the same sentiments well up in us, including the desire to return.
After listening to the song, Sister dialed Joe and he answered the phone immediately! She told him that he was with us in spirit. Connie and Sister Steph affirmed that the phone call you get when you want to be here, but can’t, is such a strong, emotional experience. Both have had that experience over the past 2 years.
Time spent later tonight included small groups talking and laughing – fully engaged and enjoying each other’s company. Mission #42 has totally become a unique and memorable family.