The flood gates open

It has been a whirlwind of a week. Everyone is in a state of preparation - as our new building has the official opening and blessing next week. There have been meetings to prepare for the event, as the deputy of the Japanese ambassador is coming, along with the Bishop and Governor. There have been the logistics of arranging furniture and equipment - deciding what nursing equipment should stay in the old building vs. the new. There have been discussions about how to divide duties and staff members between the buildings.

There was the arrival of two new people to join the staff. One is a Sister who is assisting for three months. The other is a potential new staff member, on a month trial to see if he’s a good fit. Nothing like training some new people in the midst of all this busyness - poor John! There are also 11 nurse assistant students coming for two hours, twice a week as well!

In between all of this, a previous volunteer came with her sister-in-law to visit the community here. It was great to meet someone we had heard about, and learn a little about what it as like for her transition back home - very hard! Something to look forward to.

John has a new friend: Krisida's 3-year-old son!

I have also been ferociously preparing both the producers at Hands of Hope and the patients to sing a song for the opening - that is, until I got sick this week. What a miserable infection - beginning with a headache and fever, the headache lasted for over 3 days and transitioned into a sore throat and fatigue. A day off work always sounds like a treat, but it’s no fun when you're actually sick. You can’t enjoy it.

Our community also experienced some death and unexpected surgery this week. A former patient showed up recently and was admitted to the hospital right away. She hadn’t been taking her HIV medications for perhaps up to 6 months, and now that she was sick, her body didn’t have an immune system to fight things off. After a couple of weeks there, with limited improvement, she passed away. John and I met her when we first came here. She always had a smile on her face and was quite healthy and strong. When she showed up a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t even recognize her; that’s how different she looked. John speaks to her situation in his blog last week: It's Not As Easy As It Looks.

In addition, one of the producers at Hands of Hope (let’s call her Jaime), who is excellent at quilling and probably one of our best designers, lost her father this week as well. I think Jamie had been taking care of him for a long time. Jamie's husband passed away only last year as well.

Another one of our producers had emergency surgery to remove his appendix, but seems to be recovering nicely.

Whew. Please keep this community and us in your thoughts and prayers. We continue to have a big transition in front of us - learning how to operate and staff the building and welcoming more people to the Garden. I hope you are all well at home and finding time to take care of yourselves - as we struggle to do the same! 

Let me end with my favorite quote this past week. It’s from I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai:

“ ‘Isn’t it a miracle you all happened to be here when Malala was shot?’ asked my father.
‘It is my belief God sends the solution first and the problem later,’ replied Dr. Javid.” (226)

(It’s an amazing book. I highly recommend it.)

Much love, Susan