Sunday, May 29, 2016

The Unexpected

I guess one thing about living here is that I don't really feel like I ever know what to expect!!! 
These past few months have been full, lots of adjusting to new ministries, never knowing what a week will hold, or even what's at the end of a road.  There are many times when I'm fine with the unknown and unexpected, but there are other times when it's hard or tiring! 

A few things recently . . . 
I was driving to Monterrico to spend a little time with a friend who was staying there.  I drove with the other nurses to clinic on Thursday like usual, and then using my GPS, I started off for Monterrico.  After a hour and a half or so I thought I was close to my destination.  I turned a corner and in front of me was a river with cars on wooden boats and a person telling me I could pay and get on the ferry right away without waiting.  I was so confused, I had no idea that the road didn't lead all the way to where I was going. One problem was that I had no money on me, and there was no ATM.  So, the guy said that there was an ATM on the other side and I could get money out once I crossed over.  When I realized I really had no other option I drove my car onto the boat behind the pick up truck watching it sink lower into the water.  We made it down to the other end of the channel, about 15 minutes.  I explained that the guy on the other side said that I could get money out of the ATM to pay them, only to find out that the ATM was about a 5 minute car drive away.  The guys were all very skeptical but pointed me in the direction of the bank.  Part of the way there, I realized they were following behind me on a moto and then followed me to the bank so they could collect their payment. 
This was the ferry I had to drive onto and off of . . . scary!!!
Add captioBut this beautiful view awaited me at the other side!!!! The black sand beaches of the Pacific Ocean!
Another day I was on my way to clinic just like any other day.  When I got there, 2 vans were full of people and supplies waiting to drive off.  I was 30 minutes late without realizing it and as soon as I arrived we left for a day of clinic in a little village about an hour away.  I still don't remember having a conversation about leaving for the day, so I felt quite disoriented with the unexpected surprise of the day.  

We had lots of patients that day!!!
Another missionary nurse and I decided to visit the Mayan ruins of Tikal.  When I realized that the towns of Puerto Barrios and Livingston, towns on the Carabean Sea, were not far off of our route and we could visit there on the way.  When we arrived at the small hotel, I asked the owner where we could see the sunset.  He said that the best place was from the water and offered to let us go out in his kayak.  We took off and thought we were supposed to follow around the island.  So, the water in the bay where we were was mostly calm, as we started to get more into the ocean the water got a little choppier and water was coming into the kayak as the waves crashed against the kayak.  We laughed about it and then a few minutes later the waves were coming stronger and more water and it was now about half full of water and had sunk down a little more into the water.  Then, a big wave came, tipped us to the side enough to drop one side below the water causing the kayak to be submerged just below the water.  We never fell out, but we had basically sunk.  So we paddled with all our might to the shore of overgrown bushes and trees.  Since we had no phones with us, we memorized the hotel number on the side of the kayak, tied it up the tree, and started walking to the closest building.  Sadly, that building was abandoned and surround by barbwire.  We could see people just on the other side of the pier portion of the property.  So, we climbed through the barbwire and asked the Guatemalan family on the other side if we could use their phone.  They were laughing as we talked with them, but imagine, 2 white girls with bright orange life jackets and paddles emerge from an abandoned property, I started laughing as well!!!  The hotel owner's wife shows up, walks out into the ocean in the dark and drags the kayak back through the water to the shore where we were.  Then, we put the kayak on top of a car and drove it back to the hotel.  The misunderstanding was that we were just suppose to kayak out 500 feet into the bay and turn around to see the sunset, not keep going like we thought.  I expected to be banned from ever coming back to the hotel, but quite unexpectedly, we were invited back!!! 

The abandoned pier with the barbwire that we climbed through - this was the next day after the crazy kayak adventure!
Beautiful lake . . . we had to jump in after hiking around Tikal all day and it felt so good!!!

Visiting the Mayan ruins of Tikal
Last week I went on a trip with the clinic called Salud Que Transforma to a remote area 8 hours drive from the city.  There we have to use a generator to have any electricity and the dentist ended up having to finish up taking care of the last patient in the dark because we ran out of gas for the generator. 

Working in the dark!
Clinic at "La Perla"
The nurses!!!