I've been thinking about water lately.
I guess that's not surprising, given that I've been on the panhandle of Florida helping my mother in the wake of Hurricane Michael. The impact of the hurricane is devastating. My hometown of Lynn Haven is just obliterated, with the mayor reporting 80% of the homes destroyed or completely uninhabitable. My mother lived in Lynn Haven, and although she has an unlivable home - it can be repaired. That's not true for so many people in the area.
Thanks to the generosity of Christ Episcopal Church in Lake Oswego, OR, I had over $2,000 in medicine and supplies. I spent a few days helping my mother and the people in her neighborhood with water, ice, food, basic medical care and home care supplies. I traveled around to other parts of the county - and, the devastation is speechless. It's horrible . . . and, the massive outpouring of support was awe inspiring.
From a dentist I befriended who started a makeshift emergency reposes area in the parking lot of his destroyed clinic, to a group of churches that banned together to serve 10,000 meals a day on borrowed BBQ grills - what I witnessed over and over was an amazing community.
I witnessed people caring for one another in deeply compassionate and connected ways. It was inspiring to know that during times of deep struggle and tremendous strain - people truly come together. And, this was especially true in watching (and participating) in water distribution and ice distribution. Water, a precious resource, made even more important in the wake of Hurricane Michael as the temperatures on the panhandle have been unseasonable hot (it was 97 degrees in my mother's house) was a way for people to connect and care for one another.
The devastation in Bay County is unreal. Unimaginable. It will take time for the trauma and wounds to heal. And, the people of the panhandle are resilient. They will recover. They will rebuild. They will continue to band together to show one another deep compassion.
I learned so much over the past few days. I learned about the power of people. It was truly inspiring. Please keep the panhandle of Florida in your thoughts and donate to disaster response efforts.
A few photos from the first couple of days of the service learning trip with nursing students from Universidad Cathólica Santa Maria (UCSM) in Arequipa, Linfield College School of Nursing and HBI.
The team will begin shadowing in health clinics focused on underserved and marginalized populations this week. We'll post more photos.
Thanks for all the support.
For well over 20 years, HBI has taken a team of volunteers from around the U.S., Canada and Europe to Perú for a service learning trip we call (aptly named) Team Perú. The teams of volunteers, coming from a number of different walks of life and professions, take part in an immersive experience to learn about the culture and people of Perú, participate in joint service learning projects with their Peruvian colleagues, and learn about health services delivery and social justice projects.
This year, for the first time, we have fulfilled a long held mission . . . and we have a team of Peruvian volunteers in the U.S., Yep - that's right, we have a group learning about the culture and people of the United States (Portland, OR), taking part in a number of service learning experience with a focused on underserved populations, and partnering with a group of U.S. volunteers.
This trip, our pilot cross cultural immersion experience, is a collaboration between Linfield College School of Nursing and Universidad Cathólica Santa Maria (UCSM). We have six volunteers - 3 RN students, 1 graduate student (who also happens to be an RN) in occupational health, and two faculty members of UCSM (including the Dean of the School of Nursing). This is a big deal for us. In many ways, it feels like closure on a long held "promise."
We are so excited to share this project with the friends and supporters of HBI (many of whom have joined HBI on a Team Perú trip). Thanks for believing in our work. We are blessed by your support.
We'll be posting photos over the next two weeks of the project.
The HBI Blog is a rotating journal from our staff. Our Blog is a series of messages from the field, insights from our work, and lessons in service.