Fundraising Progress:
Raised: $3208.15 Goal : $3000

Thursday, 28 November 2013

I cried in church on Sunday.

I sometimes avoid going to church when I think I'm going to be emotional.  I know it's supposed to be supportive and your church should be your family, but I just have a hard time with that.  I'm worried that if peopel *really* knew what was going on, well, then I'd be labelled as "One of those people".  Anyway, I went to church anyway, because I figured it was the week before I was going away and I was being very heartily supported by the people at church so I should put on a good face and go.

I didn't really expect to have tears running down my face out of gratitude and just feeling overwhelmingly embraced by a group that I feel like I know about 10% of.  This is why...

These are all cards from people who are going to pray for me while I'm gone.  People who I barely know and people who I know pretty well, people who have only been in my life for 2 years or less, who are going to take time out of there day, every day, for the next 12 days, to support me in the best way they can.

I don't know why this gets me so hard.  I have never known about a group of people who are just praying for me so that I stay safe, stay strong, stay courageous, and follow the path laid out for me while I'm abroad.  I just feel like I'm walking around in a perpetual group hug.  It's ridiculous. Those cards say Thank You to me, like I'm doing some one a favour.  I think it's just crazy, because all I can say is Thank You to those who sent me the cards, supported my financially or with supplies, and all the other people who have wished me well.

Thank you.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Almost there.... Almost there!

Almost there... Almost there!!

Today was such a long day at work.  I was so anxious to get to packing and checking and double checking I have everything, I just want to get done work and get this party started!

I want to give a huge thanks and shout out to my last minute (really... like 2 weeks ago, but I am slow). I made $3000 my goal on a whim mostly.  I thought it was a bit out of range, but I figured I would strive for it.  Well, I hit it, and beyond!!! All thanks to generous friends and family, and friends and family of the friends and family.  I have been totally blown away by the support.

That extra fund raising was able to help cover the costs of another team mate, and purchase more meds and physio equipment to take on the trip.  It will help the folks we go down to see, so we can do that much more!

So I am working on getting all my stuff together.  I have a problem.  We are going for 12 days total.  1 day will be completely taken with travel, and 5 are completely filled with medical clinics.  The last day we are leaving early, so 4 days will be sight- seeing.  Anyway, I have to fit my personal supplies (BP cuff, stethascope, gloves, alcohol swabs, hand sanatizer, flashlight, batteries, pens, clip board....) as well as my mosquito net, mosquito repelent, personal first aid kit, shoes, sandels, scrubs, and maybe some other clothes.... into 16 lbs total weight and a 1/3 of a hockey bag in volume, my carry on, and a 'personal item' (ie. laptop bag or purse).

This is what I've got gathered up so far:

The jar is instant coffee, and yes, there is a frisbee.  I thought it would be fun to take and leave with a child down there to make their day.  We will see if it makes the cut!  I might swim in my cloths to save taking a bathing suit... there is just too much stuff and not enough space.

I'll post another picture when it's all packed.

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Euchre Success!

Last night was the Euchre tournament and it was a smashing success!  I was astounded by people's generosity all around.  Sarah, another nurse going on the trip, and Matt's friend Bev and her niece Kim, who did the baking for the sale just floored us with the calibre and quantity of totally amazing treats that went beyond mere baking.  We're talking ART!  Brownie coffins with chocolate skeletons, minion marshmallow pops, turkey oreos, cream cheese brownies, cream cheese filled banana bread, mustard pickles, home made salsa, pumpkin pie! The mouth-watering list goes on and on!

This was the FIRST car-load of stuff!!

We started with a very set list of prices, but that soon went out the window as the hoards descended and it was a whole lot of eye balling and setting a price that looked fair.  No one complained.

The cupcakes were added with the second car-load of goodies.  The first few customers trickling in!

The euchre started a bit late because people were so enthusiastic about the baked sale, but that was okay! Everybody had a great time anyway.  The prizes were enthusiastically won and everybody had a good time, so it was such a success!

The cards are being played!

And for those who don't play euchre: Scrabble!

Linda, myself, and Donna, 3 members of the team to Guyana!
The final total made was just shy of $1500, which was the best I was hoping for, so I am so pleased!  I am only a couple hundred from my goal of raising 3 grand, which I set thinking it was a very ambitious goal.  Awesome!!

Thanks everybody who came and who helped, for supporting the CNS team to Guyana!

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Together, we make the world better!

Today I was at church and found out there are 3 other members of my church going on a medical mission to Peru with an organization called Medical Missions International. This weekend my Patricia did a 5k Run for the Cure. A friend of mine, Isaac, is doing a 5k run to end depression. I am going to Guyana. We are all supported by all kinds of people who give their hard earned money. I know so many people who have given their time, money, effort, and other means, and it is all working toward making the world a better place.

Every day there are news stories about crimes and evil deeds, it is important to take time to focus that for every old lady that gets mugged, there is another old lady receiving treatment for an illness because someone gave time, money, or effort to provide it.  For every kid that gets bullied, there is a kid that is supported by a program run by volunteers or funded by donations.  

My personal belief system is that people are made in the imagine of God.  I think that people have a drive to do good for themselves and for other because that's a reflection of God's desire.  There will always be pain and suffering in the world, but there will also always be people willing to sacrifice to make it better.  I'm very excited to be a reflection of God's will to the people of Guyana!

Food for the Poor Guyana distributing in Herstelling, Guyana.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Fun with Glue and Coloured Paper!

All through school I thought making poster boards for projects was silly, though I always found it fun.  Now, I am making a poster that actually has baring on real life: a poster to raise awareness for my trip at my church!  I plan to have it up for a couple Sundays, and I'm going to be selling for a donation some of the baked goods that we will be offering at the Euchre Tournament at the church.  You like the tasty cake? Eh? Eh? Come get more on Oct. 26th!  Don't play Euchre? No problem! Come and eat cake instead!

I also put an ad in the local paper about the Euchre Tournament.  I felt very professional putting an ad in the paper.  I have not sold a lot of tickets yet, but I have a lot of people who plan to buy tickets, or plan to come to buy cake and pie, so I am confident it will be a success.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

How did I get here and where am I going?

When I was in grade 11, I took a human geography course.  Our big project was to make a business plan for a charity that included budget, staffing plans, long term goals, ect.  It was a big project, but it was very cool.

My charity was an HIV/AIDS support "community".  It started as an orphanage but my research led me to learn about adults, particularly women with children, who were left very vulnerable when they contracted the virus, or when their husbands did.  So, my naive 15 year old self designed an HIV/AIDS support commune!  I was looking up real estate in Lesotho (that's where chose to operate because it has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world).
The Flag of Lesotho, new in Oct 2006

 I was finding out how much you had to pay doctors, I was "buying" buses, and budgeting for schooling,  and researching gardens in Africa to help keep cost of food down.

I can't remember the exact figures, but the start up cost for my commune was $1.5 million Canadian dollars or something like, and a cost of $400 000 to keep it running from year to year.  Peanuts, right?? Toootally doable!!  Of course my thought was with support, the people in the commune would be able to contribute to keeping it running, which would bring the cost down over time.  It was a good idea! My plan would result in a few families having access to food, shelter, education and medical attention to help alleviate the suffering from HIV/AIDS.  A long term positive impact on a little piece of society in Lesotho.  Lesotho is a tiny little country in Africa, by the way.  You know that little hole in the middle of South Africa that doesn't belong to South Africa?  Yep, that's Lesotho.
I got a wicked-good mark on my project, but now looking back I can see all the huge issues and problems with such a plan.

Fast forward to 4th year of my BScN where I met one of my heros.  I can't even remember her name, but I remember she was amazing.  She was my prof and introduced the concept of Participatory Action Research (PAR).  Now,  I hate research.  It's dry, its boring, its monotonous.  This prof told a different story, however. She talked about going to small villages in Uganda or Cambodia or a dozen other places, of learning the rhythm of life in the village, and learning from THEM what THEY needed.   She talked about using local wisdom and local resources with the help of funding from whatever university or charity was funding her to work in that village to build up the village from the inside out.  She told me about setting up clinics that both offered medical training AND teaching.  In one case they even started an entire economy based on the barter system to pay for the health care provided because no one had any money.  I am still baffled how all of that was considered research, but it sounded awesome.  It sounded real, and lasting, and beyond all it sounded GOOD.  If I could be a part of that, then I could be a part of something real.

I have had that goal/dream dangling around in my brain since that class, but I haven't been able to figure out how to get started.  Research = higher education.  I can't afford to go back to school quite yet.  I need connections, I need experience, I need direction.  If I had been a smarter person, I would have asked her for her business card, contacted her and asked her to be my formal mentor.  If she declined, I would then ask her out for coffee or lunch and pick her brain on how she got to where she got and how I could do it too.  If she accepted, well, then I would do the same thing, just over the months and years that followed.  I didn't do that though, so I have to figure it out myself.

Fast forward again, after graduation, after my first job didn't work out and my interview for then Care Partners, now Red Cross Care Partners.  "Every year we do a medical trip" they said, "we take staff from the organization and go abroad to run clinics" they said.  Hey... doesn't that sound like a great place to start?

Does to me!  

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Why Guyana?

Community Nursing Services has done four prior trips abroad for medical missions.  They have gone to Peru, Nicaragua, the Philippines and Guatemala.  All of these trips were a great success with the team helping hundreds of people with basic medical needs and teaching, but they were all made more challenging by the need for interpreters.

Guyana was originally settled by the Dutch, and then was taken over by the British. Fun fact, just like the Netherlands much of the most heavily cultivated and populated coastal land is actually below sea level.  Guyana remained a British colony for 200 years, until 1966.  As a result, the primary language is English.  No need for interpreters!

The infrastructure of Guyana is also fairly well developed and the social structure is very stable.  This means that the planners for the trip have a much easier time organizing.  Transportation is not nearly as much of a trial when roads are maintained.  Social clubs like Rotary International also have a strong presence and can help in organizing venues to hold the clinics.

So basically, Guyana was the ideal destination because there is a need that we can meet with fewer obstacles.