Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Today Eleanor and Kathy and I made some preparations for the cataract surgery mission (co-sponsored by SEE, International) that will be our next big project in April. We wrote some thank you letters, worked on accounts, and compared notes about the Comasagua mission.

I've written a lot about our connection during the week with the people of Comasagua, who have moved each of us deeply. Each person who came on this mission will go back home with a deeper, more heart-felt experience of the realities faced by most peoples in the world. Each of our health providers, back in their super-clean clinics, with pure water available from every tap, will be remembering the difference.

I've said less about two other important purposes of this mission week. We brought together doctors, nurses, physician's assistants, pharmacy techs, interpreters and chaplains (among others) from a variety of PeaceHealth regions, and we brought them together as equals. I love it that on a PazSalud mission all the name tags have first names only (except for Eleanor and I, who have Hna - hermana, Sister - in front of our names. In this trip, Father Ken Olsen was another exception, Padre Ken). The long trips on the bus each day gave everyone time for thoughtful connection and conversation, and the evenings gave us time for fun (as can be seen in the photo above, from our dinner at Beto's: Bob Davis, Nelson Solano, Elba Rivas, James Boyle, Ken Olsen and Elizabeth Lowery gather around Alan and Joan Yordy). So one of the purposes of the missions is to connect PeaceHealth people with each other in ways that reach across the boundaries.

A second, and more important purpose, is simply to remind everyone involved, and many at home who will see the photos and hear the stories, that providing health care is a mission. I've heard many of our PeaceHealth volunteers by now talk about how this week has recharged their own sense of mission, their own dedication to the work. It comes in realizing that you have a gift of healing to give, even without the technology that supports healing in the United States, and in knowing that you give that gift through your respect and kindness, as well as through your skill.

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