I've been putting off the final post from the trip, excuses include but are not limited to: internet shady for a few days (lie), too much fun to be had on the beach (truth), I had planned to blog on the plane, but my computer was seized in customs along with my rum and my underpants (mostly lie), I have been super-busy since I got back (lie), I've been super-tired since I got home (truth). So there you have it.
The last days in Jamaica were an awesome, emotional ride. Our last day in Maroon Town was fantastic. Even before leaving for the clinic that morning I was moved to tears when Joe read a little Mother Theresa poem:
Wise advice about perspective in life,
from Mother Teresa
*Do it anyway, because it was never between you and them*
People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind,
people may accuse you of selfish ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful,
you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building,
someone could destroy overnight.
If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis
it is between you and God;
it was never between you and them anyway.
There happen to be a funny moment at the end, because this poem made me think of a particular person, and then, as life is funny that way, that particular person was the one to pass it on to PJ to read that morning.. Ahh life...
The drive up to the clinic was a nostalgic one, bus full, tunes bumpin, Preacher doin' his thing in the most fabulous way he does.
We arrive to an emotional start for the last day as Nurse Winsome and the other ladies presented us with a card from the Maroon Town Ministry of Health. Their sincere thanks was heartfully received, and moved us all. The ladies also brought in some food for us. Its so amazing to be there to help a group of people with no expectation of anything in return only to have you heart and your belly full from the love and generosity of others. Patties and Ginger Beer, these are a few of my favorite things!
We saw ALL of the remaining patients. This meant that the word had spread that we were having our last day so Nurse Winsome cut our waiting list, and had to tell others that our services were ending. This always makes me sad, but having Winsome take over the list meant that we did not fail to provide care to anyone who was not waiting for it on that last day.
After seeing the last patients the clean up begun. How long does it take to pack up a mobile clinic; about 2 hours. Not too shabby. Much thanks to Mikey the care taker at Maroon Town, as well as the Ministry ladies for helping get out things together at the end. We left a lot of supplies at the clinic knowing that they would go to much better use than any of us carrying them back to the U.S.
I had a particularly warm moment with a little 8 yr old boy who lives on the land next to the clinic named Courtney. He was super excited to be around the volunteers every day, he was so warm and out going, so free with his happiness. He knew that I would sneak toys and toothbrushes out the window near my chair, so frequently I would see his little hands grasp the metal bars on the out side of the window and there he would pull himself up and smile I me. I just couldn't resist :) Occasionally he would bring his little friends by as well. Such wonderful, honest, loving children. On the very last day he was helping me put away the tent that coverer the generator every day. He asked me, "are you coming back tomorrow?" No, I sadly replied. "Are you coming back on Tuesday?" No. Not on Tuesday. "Are you coming back on Thursday?" No. I wont be back on Tuesday. "When will you be back?" In a few months, I replied. I just couldn't bring myself to even think about the word a year, let alone say it. Courtney is an amazing little boy, who has touched my life.
Our drive down from the clinic was somber as well as celebratory. A quick stop at the Carlisle to drop off supplies, then back home to get ready for the goodbye cocktail party. Sandy, Steph, Tina and I got to eat dinner together at Tokyo Joes, and then got ready for further festivities.
The goodbye party was as emotional as ever. Its always so great to hear everyones stories of how their weeks had gone, and always exciting to hear about the totals for the amounts of patients that we had seen. Nearly 2000 over the two weeks! Just amazing, and fills me with so much pride, and love for those around me who give up so much to do such a good thing!
I was proud to stand with my group and say how happy I was to have met everyone, how great it was to work with them, and how in awe I was at the Ohio team, they really worked hard, and gave so much. Cheers!
Now for some down time!! We stayed local Friday night, and I kept the celebrating on the down, I was NOT going to miss snorkeling Saturday morning!
Saturday was a fabulous day. Up, a little breakfast, snorkeling (which I LOVE), beach, cocktails, hot tub, pool, beach, hot tub, lunch, beach, brief respite from sun, beach, volleyball, beach, shower.. Yep, an awesome Caribbean day for any standards.
After our beach day Sandy, Steph, Loc and I went down town for dinner and a beer, then back home for a few more. I couldn't believe I was leaving the next day!!
When I woke up on Sunday I went right to the beach. It was already warm at 8, sun shining, waves caressing the sand. I pulled my chair down and watched the beach come awake around me.
Soon enough Tina and I were packing our bags, saying goodbye to Stephanie and Sandy who'll be flying back Monday, and heading to the airport.
A few cocktails and some last minute rum buying and away we go. The flight from JA to Houston was uneventful. An hour between flights for customs is clearly not enough!, Tina was cleared to re-enter the country with her Visa letter, much to her liking. We miss our connecting flight and get on the following one. Just one extra hour in Texas wont kill me.. Right??
Home we arrive. Tina and I agree after having 4 of us in a room for the trip going back to our own apartments is going to be lonely. We are both sad that our trip is over. Peter picked us up from the airport, so lovely to see a familiar face waiting, so good to feel welcome home hugs and kisses, so good to see our luggage arrive in SF with us :)
For the past few days it has been Back II Life, Back II Reality. Work, the World Series (GIGANTES!!) and friends. A part of me will always be in Jamaica, and the new friends we've made we have brought back with us. On that note, I just got a FB friend request from Debbie, one of the fantastic Ministry of Health ladies. Ahh how our world is getting smaller by the minute. In this case I don't care, what has been far away and mysterious in the past is now know, loved, appreciated, and carried on forever.