Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Nurse Bonnie - Feliz ano nuevo y Gracias a Dios

I began my first day back from Guatemala standing in front of my home with two very happy and eager doggies anxious to begin their much-missed walks. I looked out at my privileged neighborhood – my privileged life – and could not help but see the stark contrast with where I had just come from. I thought of the many homes we had visited near Panajachel – where families lived in darkness and the floors were dirt, where the wood-burning stoves gave off the smell of smoldering ashes, where multiple children slept together in tiny beds. These were the homes in which we asked the occupants about their illnesses and medical needs, and when we left them with much-needed medicines, received in return so many hugs and the warmest of smiles. Whatever little we could give them, they gave us the gift of their graciousness – their gratitude for just being there and caring. Over and over we heard: “Feliz año Nuevo – Happy New Year” and “Gracias a Diós – Thank God.”
I’ve been thinking so much about the twelve Xavier University students that I’ve just come to know over the past week – come to know and love. We entered 2012 together, as we worked side by side every day. We were strangers at first, but felt closer and closer with each passing day. They are some of the finest young people I have ever known – JD, Mouhamed, Michael, David, Christian, Jen, Megan, Micayla, Mary, Lia, Anna and Annie.
We shed tears together.
We laughed together.
We learned together.
Twelve exceptional and extraordinarily kind and genuine people, sharing the experience of a lifetime that we will never forget.
Our medical team – Lauri Pramuk, Richard and Cathy Walter – never ceased to amaze me with their compassion and caring, but also with their teaching expertise, and especially by their love which was felt by each and every one of the students.
Of course, none of what we experienced, and nothing of what we were able to give, would have been possible without the knowledge and leadership of Rabbi Abie Ingber and the inexhaustible conscientiousness of his assistant Carmen Deloach. Abie has the ability and know-how to put it all together, to make everything happen, and to make it all run smoothly.
One day back home, after one short week in Guatemala, enriched by her people and humbled by their spirit that shines despite their desperate poverty, my own spirit is uplifted by the Xavier students, knowing the world will be a better place because of them.
Grateful for the walk I’m about to take with my dogs…
and grateful for this new year, made more hopeful by an inspiring beginning –

Feliz Año Nuevo
Gracias a Diós
Gracias a Diós
Gracias a Diós

Bonnie Herscher, RN


Lauri Pramuk said...
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Lauri Pramuk said...

beautiful reflection, Bonnie. love and miss you! Lauri

XUniverse said...

Team Guatemala,
...Sitting from afar, I found myself floating awash in emotion while you carried out your passionate mission this past week. Because of “Team Guatemala”, I've discovered myself humbly reflecting on life as I know it.
As parents, we envision great things for our children. We do our best, from the time they are tiny infants, to build strong foundations from which they can grow and find themselves as individuals. We love. We teach. We hope. Then, we watch. I cannot express the pride I felt watching “Team Guatemala” work its miracles, and I cannot express the emotion I felt watching our young adults give of themselves for the betterment of others, planting the seed of change and offering hope.
Ironically this past week, the roles were reversed and it was I who lived, learned and loved through the eyes of my own daughter; through the eyes of each of you. Every day, I rushed home to read this blog; every day ending in tears... appreciating, loving, imagining.
I thank each and every one of you for being the individuals that you are - Rabbi Abie for your intuition, passion and dedication to the soul; the doctors and nurses for your compassion both for the people of Guatemala, and also for the students you have inspired; the students for your courage, strength and selflessness. Your being, your spirit and your amazing work is a ripple spreading to make each of us a better person... As you feel and see the direct impact you have had in Guatemala, I also hope that you recognize the profound impact you have generated among so many unrelated families and friends within our own communities.
...A simple "thank you" does not and cannot hold the depth of gratitude that lies within it. Yet there are no better words. You have made a difference in Guatemala; you have made a difference here. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Kelly McGinn