It’s transition day at Project Mercy, which is a bitter-sweet day for this Gundersen Global Partners Team One blogger. I think the interpreters that have helped us and become our friends over the past 2 weeks stated it best when they said, “I feel so terrible because the team has left…”
I left La Crosse for Ethiopia with 14 acquaintances, unsure of what the road ahead would bring. I end this journey with 14 strong friendships, though I can not pinpoint when the transition happened. We star-gazed while contemplating what might be biting, we learned the lesson of never passing on a bower (Euchre!), we shared valentines, and we even learned to ZenTangle. We celebrated victories from childhood dental education to shoe sorting, and nearly every member of our team witnessed a C-section. We mourned the passing of patients and those with terminal diagnoses. We laughed, we cried (Suby more than others). We even got a van ride back to the compound on our last night. Today we scatter, some to safari, some to Zanzibar, most to home.
To team 1: It has been a life changing 2 weeks and words cannot express my gratitude for each of you. May the road treat you well and keep you safe until we meet again.
However, the interpreters had more to say, “…but I am so happy to meet this new team.” This Gundersen Global Partners Team Two blogger couldn’t be more excited to set forth on new adventures of patient care and cultural cross pollination.
I met my new team as I was walking back from the hospital. They stood out from their environment, tired from travel and some not quite sure of where the road was leading them. But, they had already begun to immerse themselves in the region. Several held local children’s hands as they trekked to the hospital. Those new to the facility took it in with great curiosity, while those returning were greeted with warm smiles and hugs from the staff. In that moment the magnitude of the longitudinal impact these trips have on the Yetebon region struck me. The process of touring the hospital, settling in at Project Mercy and breaking bread for the first of many times allowed us to start finding our identity as a team. Dr. Jacobs even found time to run a few soccer drills. We headed to bed early tonight, eager to face the challenges the next ten days have in store.
To team 2: Your energy and enthusiasm are inspiring, I can’t wait to strive and achieve with each of you by my side. Let’s get started!
Team 2 has arrived at Project Mercy!
Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and comments on our travel. For me, Project Mercy holds a special place in my heart, so getting out of the car and heading into our common room while being greeting by Team 1 and old friends from last year was a sensaton that is hard to describe. It is like coming home.
There was quite a bit of commotion with all 31 of the G.P. crew, another visiting group from California and some of the P.M. staff. But, after we waved at Team 1 and the CA team left on a tour, the peace that is encompassing on the P.M. compound set in. I believe this place is in my top 3 peace-filled and home-like places in my life.
We have some pictures for you of the day – including Iyad precariously, yet fearlessly loading suitcases filled with medical supplies on the top of the P.M. bus!