Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Getting Back on the Horse - and other cliches

I have often thought that cliches are as overworked and overused as they are exactly because they are so fundamentally true. I have not posted in quite a while, and it is difficult for me to post today because I have not posted in quite a while.

Between the earthquake and the unusual rain system and the flooding and a broken tooth and Thanksgiving Day and a friend's return to the States for 2 months, I have been exceptionally down. Many days it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning - and keep myself from crawling back into (or under) the bed before noon. I am better now. Not great. Not back to "normal". But better.

I am requiring myself to get out of the house 2 mornings a week to volunteer at one of the local missions. I am requiring myself to carry on the Chowder and Marching Society. I am requiring myself to "fake it till I make it".

I heard earlier this week that we had 57 inches of rain in November. Think of it like this: it rained an average of almost 2 inches a day. Every day. All month long. Or think of it like this: It rained 5 FEET 9 INCHES in November.

Bob informed me that, as of November 30, we had accumulated 219 inches of rain for the year. Again, think of it like this: OVER 18 FEET OF RAIN. In eleven months.

And they say that there is a dry season in January/February/March. I don't quite believe them.

In other news, we went last Saturday with our church to a feeding station that the church supports. We took gift bags for the 35 mothers who cook (over wood fires in cast iron kettles thankyouverymuch) for the almost 100 children who eat there daily. The Ngobe (or Ngabe) Bugle (or Bukle) Indians live in the mountains and eke out a meager existence on the land. All too often the meal provided at the feeding station is the only one the children receive each day. Anyway, Mother's Day in Panama is December 8, and we provided gift bags with cosmetics, toothbrushes, lotion and powder and other things for the moms.

Life is so hard for the women especially. They are often pregnant by 15, and have a baby every year or so. The grown women almost never smile, and the children rarely do. With my silver hair and glasses, I looked so different that several children were afraid of me, although after a while a little flirt of a boy and an angel of a little girl sat on my lap or leaned on my leg. (I wanted to bring about half a dozen of the little girls home with me to rescue them from a future of no education, likely abuse, and certain early motherhood.)

We are going back in a couple of weeks to bring Christmas presents to the children.

By the way, the feeding station is NOT the mission where I will be working 2 days a week. THAT mission is much closer to home, has a Bible Institute, sponsors many of the Gnobe Bugle children in school (by providing uniforms, shoes, school supplies, etc), and has a clinic. I'll probably work most with the clinic, depending on patient needs. I understand that the Indian women walk down to the mission clinic to give birth (Yes, you read that right: they walk down to the clinic while they are in labor), so I may get to practice midwifery. I'll let you know. (I hope to finish knitting the baby blanket I'm currently working on before assisting in a delivery, so I can give it to the new baby.)

I still have my down days. I still have my down moments. I still cry. But I am making a valiant effort to "Bloom Where I Am Planted" - a cliche with which to close this for now.

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