Pressure (and updates)

Because many things have been happening in the last few weeks but realizing I could write pages about each, I am limiting myself to some bullet points.
  • We leave for Haiti in 77 days, 12 hours, and about 50 minutes. I'm starting to feel the pressure upon realizing that very little of our time there is actually planned. Building a school may not be a reality because my friend is scrambling for the funds for supplies, and my promises of enthusiastic laborers won't be of much value without bricks and shovels.
  • I have been able to make some other connections, thanks to a PT school friend who knows someone who works for Catholic Relief Services, and a Mercy Corps connection through Holly- but the woman who works for Mercy Corps says she may run out of funding by then.
Such is life in Haiti. I'm learning to be flexible. I was explaining to a friend today about the pros and cons of travel partners. On one hand, I have a fraction of the fear I would have going it alone; I will have trusted and loved supporters who I can lean on in certain more difficult times. I can also take home the knowledge that I helped to open the hearts and educate others about issues facing Haiti. But on the other hand, I feel this intense pressure to not only keep them safe but also entertain them! Their reasons for the trip are so different from my own and I need to respect and acknowledge their need for more tangible results from their experience in Haiti. So hopefully we will find enough to do given our skill sets.
  • We have a very promising candidate for the scholarship. He is already taking prep classes for the TOEFL exam and working on his personal statement and application! I am hoping that by having a student who already has university and work experience and is a bit older and more mature, his success will pave the way for a student who might be female, younger, and closer to the normal university age. We shall see, but I am thrilled to start off with someone who has great chances for success.
Friends of the Orphans has been up to lots of exciting things and two of my travel partners and I attended the NW region annual fundraising gala on Saturday. A wonderful time, although I spent way too much money, but given the fact I was planning a large donation to offset some trip costs, I decided I might as well get my parents a great Christmas gift out of it.

I also spent an evening meeting Merlin Antunez, the speaker at the gala. Merlin is the first doctor to have grown up in any of the 9 homes run by NPH, and after graduating, he went back to Rancho Santa Fe, the home in Honduras, to work at the internal clinic serving his "brothers and sisters" and spending each afternoon at an external clinic serving the surrounding community. He also helps at the new surgery center in Honduras that hosts brigades of American surgeons who come three times a year to perform orthopedic surgeries for Honduras' poor. Pretty fantastic week altogether.

School is getting more intense - if that's even possible - but it's getting progressively more interesting. This Thursday I will have my first ever personal patient- I've only ever helped a 3rd-year student in clinic- so hopefully I won't hurt anyone.
  • Luckily I did learn an incredibly important Creole word in my class Friday: kèt. We'll just say it's a bit of an expletive, but I can officially say "shit, I have too many tests!" (Kèt, m' gen twòp egzamen!) just in time for midterm week.