Wednesday, September 30, 2009

visa arrival

i got my visa today! so i guess that means that i'm really going. they DID only assign me a three month visa, but hopefully the doctor can change that when i get there. hell, if i come back a month early maybe i'll try next summer to make a one-month medical trip to south america before i head to europe. we'll see.

Monday, September 21, 2009

getting ready

To my few and faithful readers (or just the random passerby):
I present my newest blog:

to africa

I'll still be posting here, but once overseas I may have limited resources/time and will aim to write in as few places as possible.
So, here is my official invitation to you to join in my endeavor to change the world.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

tea in africa

sent my visa application off today! i hope i have everything i needed. i quadruple checked it and everything seemed to be in order. i spent $275 on the visa fee and application fee combined. $10 to mail it.
i still need bug repellent...which i guess i'm looking at $100 expense there. seems odd to spend that much on bug repellent but 1) it's a 4-month supply for use every day and 2) i'm doubtful of this type being available once in cameroon.
i also need a mosquito net.
eventually i should think about typing up a packing list. i planned on only having one carry-on pack, but with the bug repellent i suppose i'm going to have to place one underneath.

i think i'll be starting a new blog. one solely focused on africa. not sure where to start it or what to call it...

i had an interesting run-in with family yesterday. they were talking to me about my trip. they didn't understand why i wanted to go. one of my aunts declared, "if they made me go to africa, i would kill myself." i was pretty surprised and questioned, "really, ann? you'd KILL yourself?" and she affirmed, "yes. i would rather kill myself than go to africa." .....then they asked me if everyone in africa ran around naked.

i'm kind of amazed at people. i know they don't understand my point or purpose. hell, i don't even understand it all the time, but it's obvious they're completely ignorant of other cultures and people. i know i am ignorant. i would like to not be ignorant. i would like to learn and come back and tell them the stories of good people who aren't animals and all the smart things i'll learn from the doctor in africa who wears clothes. ...of course there will be new rules to learn while living in africa, but i'm willing to learn them and i believe i'll stay safe enough by following them. i'm not really worried. life happens. you live and you learn and you trust...and i won't let fear stand in my way. i can't. my heart will explode.
if anything was to happen, if at all possible i believe i would keep it from them. i'm not willing to affirm their prejudices. ...'s so close now! 28 days til i can have tea in africa!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

1 month notice

in exactly 30 days i will be on my way to afrika.
my letter came...the very day i put my one month notice in at work!
call it coincidence, but it sure as hell is reassuring to me. ...i was thinking about worrying.
so here i am, with most of my documents in order. i called into work due to my excitement to get things rolling...can you blame me? i have 'lack-of-motion sickness.'

i feel so excited. i feel right. i'm so excited!


last night at work one of my coworkers got spicy with me. i hate drama. i hate being in a foul mood. i hate it when people are upset and there's nothing you can do to help them be happy..they refuse treatment. it seems like there are some people that have something shitty happening in their lives every week... i hate that for them..but i don't understand how ruining the vibe in the room for everyone else makes them feel any better. maybe it's me lost in my candyland world, but i think i'm generally a happy person. not everything in my life goes my way...i try to stay positive. i like to see other people smile so i make my useless ridiculous attempts. .... i know i'm not dealing with an unruly kid or an abusive husband or some lifethreatening circumstance so maybe i should have more compassion. it just sucks. going to work and people are pissed at their lives and they won't cheer up... ...i don't know if that has anything to do with why they snapped on me, but it happened.
guess i need to up my game in patient care. be more on top of things...perhaps then she'll be pleased. i dunno...she was definitely trying to help out and notify me about something she was upset about with a patient. i sort of felt like she was more upset that he just wouldn't listen to her rather than she was concerned that he needed to wear that particular equipment. i didn't see what she was concerned about as priority at the moment and she felt that i 'just didn't care so why should she'....which is what she said. that kind of stung. also kind of ticked me off. i was trying to help her relax a little bit. not feel so edgy. instead i made her feel like her attempts to care were pointless and unimportant, and that i didn't give a shit. (not my mindset, not my goal).
so...lesson learned:
1)if a tech comes to me with a concern..address it then. get involved. even if it can wait. if it's important to them, it's important to me.
2)explain myself.
3)ignore drama, unless it might be therapeutic for someone if i listened.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


last night i met a man i suppose i should despise.he killed somebody close to him...then tried to end himself too. he had psych issues since he was young and had a brain injury when he was older... his face was all swollen and putrid looking. he had blood soaked gauze stuffed in his mouth like a pig on the table. he was tied down and the instructions that came with him included to notify certain authorities the moment he could communicate, and another set the moment he was ready to be taken to jail.
he didn't look evil...laying helpless with hands tied down and swollen arms and mushy face.
i just wanted to heal him. make him better. wipe the drainage off his face.
i can't imagine him not being sorry now...about what he did...
maybe i'm mental...but i couldn't hate him.
i can't hardly even be mad at him.
he just looked like a broken man.
somewhere in that monster there has to be one...

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

no sign

this letter of invitation still hasn't come.
the cameroon embassy won't answer their phones, much less call me back to answer my questions.
and i need to tell my boss that i'm one-month notice...without assurance of this all working out....
one of my friends and i made a deal that if we're not married by 30 than we'd marry eachother... he's a little wild like i am...
so at least there's hope for something...haha...jokes.
i feel...separate from the issue of the letter not showing up. i it is my duty to be concerned about it due to the circumstance rather than because i actually feel concerned about it.
i feel like waiting. knowing. what is supposed to be will be so long as i do everything that is in my responsibility or control to do. so long as i do my part.
when i think about africa... i feel peace.
a peace whose loudness is greater than the roar of uncertainty, instability, and disconcertion i feel here.
i've questioned whether or not someone could label my actions as 'running'...from discontentment or the inability to live up to my own standards ....because honestly i can't get things straight here. i mess up brutally, hideously, horrendously. ...and you've heard it...if you can't be content here then you won't experience it there. If you can't live right here, you can't there.
But there's a dream...a reality...a drawing of my this. to this going the distance. this being the message. this living it out. this losing/giving of myself...
maybe i'll get there and i'll realize it was only a romantic fantasy. maybe i'll find that life there is like life here. maybe i'll find myself tired, empty, and void of response to the brokenness around me. maybe they won't need me or want me either.
...but maybe i will become alive. maybe i will find a purpose worthy of living. maybe i will realize my potential. maybe i will find what love is. maybe i will see jesus and he will be able to save me there.
here i have everything and more to numb me. to forget the experience. to become blind and/or to hide from him.
and i want to be raw. raw enough to love and be real...
i want to see. see truth and lies for what they are...
and i want to feel. feel love...

i'm not going to find a fix. i'm going... to live out what i know is right. "For me, an area of moral clarity is: you're in front of someone who's suffering and you have the tools at your disposal to alleviate that suffering or even eradicate it, and you act. " (paul farmer) ....i know no other way to have peace and become strong than to act out according to the things i feel the strongest for.

Friday, September 04, 2009

more thoughts on africa

i love africa's informality, imperfections, warm & welcoming people, i love its colour, i love that africa is alive with music & song, smiles & sincerity, i love Africa's children. I love the African Sun. Africa intrigues me, and reminds me to live for more than myself.- Taryn Archibald

i still don't have my visa stuff together...awaiting a letter of invitation from the doctor in cameroon.
but i know i'll be going. how can i not? i've waited for so long. i wish international travel was more simple than this, but... the way things are is the way things are, right?

people can't understand why or how i could go to serve..."for no pay?!?!" Is it really that foreign of a concept? I have more than some when it comes to resources/'skill' makes sense to me to share..even when it's difficult and not convenient. My parents taught me to do that with people...but even to them these dreams are inconceivable and difficult to understand.
I also enjoy learning about people and seeing different cultures. What better way to do this than to immerse yourself within a new nation?

My father, born and raised in a primarily white and southern region, asked me, "Bout all they got over there is blacks, ain't it?"
"Yes, I think in Cameroon the majority of the people have slightly more melanin in their skin than you and I do."
" better be careful."

...someone got raped on the campus near where I live last the last year there have been multiple muggings and even kidnaps....

there are only people over there. people. humans. mothers. fathers. daughters. brothers. orphans. innocent people exposed to such hideous crimes and governments...governments that stand by the wayside. passionate people that dance and create and sacrifice for their families and loved ones. intelligent people that have been suppressed by lack of resources, family duties, and various other obstacles. people. made out of the same things i am. i want to meet them, learn from their stories, lives, and culture...and fix a cut if they have one.

i wish the world wasn't so i wish we shared more. i wish it was okay to love people and that we were more concerned with how well we loved than how many things we could come to possess in a lifetime.

"love the one in front of you." -heidi baker
"the only nation is humanity." -paul farmer

end of life issues

i read this blog and it talked about circumstances that you see at the hospital that challenge your moral and ethical opinions.
the gist of it is this:
an unresponsive very elderly patient, too contracted to move, talk, or eat...who moans in discomfort when you move them, yet you must because they're totally incontinent... and is otherwise a bump on a log except for the infection that resides within, moving rapidly....
a family that wants no end of life measures to be made because they have hope and want "everything to be done."

it is a challenging situation that provoked me to yet again bring up the topic of a living will with my mother. it's not really an uncomfortable topic... but it's an important issue that should be clarified in writing, really....i would say it's because my parents are gaining in age, but i've seen enough young people come through the hospital who's lives have been drastically changed while also losing their ability to communicate...and i've seen the families that wished they knew what they wanted. it's too huge a decision for the people on the sidelines to make for an individual. i don't want the responsibility of taking tubes out, negating my parents' lives....

i think i would like to be cremated and have the breeze of a mountain top carry me away....but maybe i need a more solid place of rest than that. ew i don't know...i don't like the idea of my body rotting and getting all nasty... but i like the idea of my body exploring and flying around... the only thing is, i would like a place where people could visit to think of me... like a stone or something. ... i wonder if this is correct? ...i don't think they ever cremated anyone in the bible. can my body be risen up if it's in a million peices? i have no idea...

after i told mom all that i asked her what she wanted and she said, 'i wouldn't mind a new car...'!