Tuesday, April 12, 2011
My apologies for not keeping up to date with my blog in what I just realized will be a years time soon. I am going to start blogging again as well as change my technique to more frequent smaller blogs as oppose to month long blogs (or in this case, year long) that take hours to write. So, hopefully I can stay more on top of keeping everyone updated instead of just putting it off because of lack of time. I will do my best to recap with the highlights of what I have been up to for the last 10 months or so.
In April of 2010 we had ourfirst surgical brigade of the year. It was a general surgery (gall stone/gall bladder removals, Hernia Repair, Lipoma removals) trip that was lead by Dr. Lou Smith of Knoxville, TN. We saw over 50 patients in one weeks time.
Last summer was jammed packed, summers are Amigos busy season. We have mission trips all year round but they are nonstop/back to back during the summer. The standard mission trip groups would build work on building homes in Villa Catalina or dig trenches for a water system in El Chonco.It was great to meat so many highschool, college, and adult groups and be a part of their week long experience of service.
Throughout the summer I also worked on a project where I attempted to teach rural women healthier methods of cooking that would ultimately decrease smoke inhalation. Engineers from GAtech sent low tech rice husk cookers that we used in one village. For the more rural villages where rice husks are unavailable, we aimed to build simple stove with chimneys built into them. We even played with the concept of solar powered cooking.
I went home to Nashville once in July to see family and then to St. Louis for my girlfriend's family reunion.
In August we had a OBGYN surgical brigade come down for a week. The trip was lead by Dr. Lance Wiiest from Atlanta, GA and the primary surgery was vaginal prolapse repair. Just like the last brigade, we saw somewhere around 50 patients in a week.
I went home again in September for Amigos annual fundraiser. I also ran a marathon in Tupelo, Miss with a group of the other missionaries and staff of Amigos. Undoubtedly one of the hardest things that I've ever done but it was great to start something together and see it to the finish together. 26.2 miles is an absurd distance to run.
Went back to Nica in October. We had two more medical mission trips come to Chinandega during the months of October and November. We had another general surgery group come and then an orthopedic one. Both trips we successful. We had two other mission trips come down in November from a church in the Cincinnati area, Crossroads Church. One of the groups was a father-son mission trip group. That week with the fathers and their sons had a huge impact on me. I realized how much I enjoy being a role model for young boys and men. I feel really lucky to have the opportunity to represent Christ and maybe be a part of others path to Him.
I went home again for Christmas to visit the fam. We went to NOLA for New Years, which was a pretty much all together awesomeyet ridiculous.
I returned to Nicaragua at the end of January, directly from the airport to the beach for our employee retreat. In February I went with a couple of guys on a trip to the other side of the country to explore and look for more mission opportunities and cool landscapes for possible future adventures. The trip went south and we will no longer be driving near or through 2/3rds of the country. We've also been told by our lawyers what there are only a few outdoor adventure type things that we are still legally allowed to do. We hosted a four spring break mission trip groups starting at the beginning of March. We also had another general surgery group come to Chinandega. This was a collaborative brigade with Dr. Lou and Doctors Marissa and Steve Martin and all of their nurses. Dr. Nutt, Orthopedics, was there too doing consults. Everyone who's down here full-time was in agreement that they were the best surgical group yet. Katie and the kids of the theatre program at Villa Catalina (a rural community) have put on three plays, (Snow White, The Grinch, and Where the Wild Things Are). I am blown away by the creativeness of the kids in these plays, not even considering how little they have to work with
Those are just the high notes, there have been countless, amazing stories about lives that have been changed here, Nicaraguans and Missionaries alike. The last 10 months here have shaped my life in ways I will probably not comprehend until years to come. After a lot of deliberation and prayer, I have decided to stay here another year to serve the mission of Amigos for Christ. It will be hard being away from my friends and family for another year but I look forward to being a part of Amigos for Christ ministry in and around Chinandega.