Friday, January 30, 2009


Ahhh, the clamor of Lima outside my window. It is summer here and the humid air is wet and warm, a huge difference from the mountains of Cajamarca. I beg forgiveness for not posting my blog last night on my last night in Cajamarca. My old A+ personality is not happy with this, but the new and improved A- woman knows several things impeded my blog writing: the power was out in the city the entire day until about 6pm when I began a series of goodbye meetings, or “despedidas.” Despedidas are a big deal in Peru…you can’t just call someone and say goodbye, you must make the rounds or you may seriously hurt some feelings. I ended up eating dinner with Nora and her love Hugo at one of my favorite places in Cajamara, Don Paco. Wally is the Peruvian owner of the restaurant who lived in Jersey for some of his twenties. He is a great friend and always looking out for me, and so needless to say…we all had a fun long night that ended with some dancing to 80’s tunes and brought me home much much too late for typing.

High in the mountain mist, yesterday was a day of adventure for Nora and me. We left Cajamarca in the morning cold to travel up the mountains toward the gold mine to visit communities participating in an eight month health promotion led by G&C. We departed from the gray overcast skies of Caja in a truck with eight people squished into the 4-wheel drive truck (2 standing in back). We traveled another seven miles off the main road up to the mine winding around a rocky unfinished (mostly mud) road that skimmed along the mountains through green farmlands. My green tea didn’t prepare me for the stomach tossing I felt as our “14 year old driver” (as Nora and I called him) rounded the cliff curves with his “tough guy peddle-to-the-metal” manner. I don’t know if he was acting cool for us, but he kept looking back in the rear view mirror, and this prompted me to ask him to be careful when we stopped. Careful is the new cool, after all.

We arrived at a community high in the hills, and my breathing was more laborious as we entered the mist of the clouds. Rain began. Hard rain. I started thinking about the route and the road that was rocks and mud; mostly I tried not to think too hard about the route down in the ever increasing mud, since I knew I wasn’t leaving anytime soon. We met the first family of the day who showed us their “cocina mejorada” (new and improved stove and kitchen). This was one of the main objectives of this project, to build kitchens with adobe and brick stoves, shelves to place items, and other hygienic improvements to ultimately improve incidence of respiratory illness and other health issues. The visit was really inspiring, and most notably the pride that emanated from the family. On the walls of this house and others we visited, each family had a vision chart that described the way they wanted their home to be. To the side of the vision chart was a list of goals and deliverables for family members to participate in improving the household. Once goals were obtained and noted by the G&C nurses who visited 3-4 times a month, the family placed a happy face near their goal to highlight their accomplishments. I love the health promo model they are using as it calls for the family to be active in creating their own personal power. I truly hope we can work with them this year with our families.

Here in Lima I am ruminating on two weeks of excitement for DiscoverHope. I am thankful that I get to live my life’s work, and have so many amazing people to share with all over the world. Each of you gives me the power to keep creating, and I am endlessly thankful for this.

The road. The road of life. The journey. Life is a verb and motion is its essence. We are in the process of movement, all of us. I see myself changing. There is all-ways dis-covery. Dis-covery…the process of coming to new understandings. What are inside of our books? Unique and wonderful stories. Narratives of sorrow and triumph…that is simply what makes the process of sharing worthwhile. We find identification and comparison in one another. We agree and we don’t, but it is all worthy.

I have new layers of myself that have been added to the book that holds the records of my life. I have new understandings. I find myself seeking solace so I can face who it is I am. Who I have always been…who I have not been and what I have not done as well. One great mentor of mine once said, “what isn’t said is as important as what is said”…I agree and try to look at those unwritten unshared spaces within me. At moments I think that the greatest struggle is to be present in what is, what IS life itself. Whenever I return from Peru, I notice the tension of this culture of the USA, one that celebrates successes in looking forward to more and more accomplishments, one that celebrates getting the “to do list” near done. While I do not stand to say that living life this way is lacking life and that I do not get stuck in the Miller planning zone, I have noticed that there is so much that gets unnoticed in the scurry of DO-ing.

Peru has always taught me a lot about BE-ing. On this trip, I have been doing my best to take notice in the present. At one moment I contemplated a hummingbird and the meaning of it’s beautiful qualities…one of the most precious to me is a reminder to be thankful for the fleeting moments, ones that will always pass and are passing as we dialogue…to notice the brilliance in them, even when that hurts, because they are here and gone so quickly….

This year as we deepen our Microcredit Plus model in Cajamarca, I am looking forward to the ways in which we can connect your passions to what we are doing. Don’t ever hesitate to send me your ideas about how you can connect what you love to our work. This is one of my favorite things in the world, finding ways to inspire personal greatness and to be inspired by it!

Tomorrow I will write here from Lima during my hermit time in this room, trying to catch up to the U.S. side and what life asks of me there. Tomorrow will be my final post as we fly through the night back to the U.S. where I will have an absolutely lazy Sunday. I will find a regular rhythm for this blog when I return that will be more intermittent. I hope all of you will stay connected as Nora and I will keep sharing throughout the year.

To the greatness in each of you, MM

No comments: