Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sorting, Storing, Shipping, Selling

We are in the final stages of figuring out what to do with our stuff.  The proverbial light is shining!
Clothes and some personal serving and decorative things are packed to ship Sept. 8th for the Philippines.
We have solved the storage issue and that has made the whole process much easier.  And then there are our dear friends who have stopped by to pack boxes, totes and schlep stuff all over the property.  The repair work has begun around the property and it's looking mighty fine, too bad we can't stay to enjoy it!

Lee and Kit are doing the same thing in Chicago tomorrow moving into their newly wed apartment.  Kit's dad drove their wedding presents to them and will help with the move.

Stephen is a happy freshman at Wheaton enjoying his 4 classes and enthusiastic roommate.

David leaves Thursday morning for London, traveling two days to arrive at Wycliffe College at Oxford to study philosophy for 3 months.

Brad leaves Thursday for Hong Kong and begins an intense 6 week transition time with ICM's current CEO

Andy and I are finishing up preparing the house for renting and starting our respective online schooling programs, my 5th course in the Public Health program at OHSU and his 1st semester sophomore year. We do not have a departure date yet, sometime after September 15th most likely.

Wishing you all well, if you are waiting for a dream to be realized, don't despair when the timing is right and as you are faithful in your current circumstances, it will come together and be SWEET!

Be well!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dreams do come true!

Last night the board of ICM, International Care Ministries, offered me a position on their public health team!  You could knock me over with a feather!  I went to the Philippines last week to learn about their work and about Manila in preparation for Brad to accept the CEO position.  Yesterday I was offered a job, a dream job in international community public health.  A job I thought impossible considering my late entry into the field of public health.
I will join a very capable public health team;
·        Helen a former psychiatric nurse from Australia passionate about health & wellness promotion in a medical clinic setting. YES! Fist pump!
·        Mindy, a physician from England working with malnourished children, I saw with my own eyes their effective partnership with Feed My Starving Children.
·        Dedicated Filipino nationals, weekly caring for thousands of very poor women and children.
It is a “dream come true!”
A year ago a VP of a major relief and development organization warned me gently that my age and lack of experience in public health made it unlikelihood I could have access to such a role. Thanks be to God he is not bound by limits.
So what is next?  In the weeks ahead I will be doing three things:
1. Preparing Andy to transition to International School as a charity agency in Hong Kong has awarded him with a scholarship.
2. Getting rid of 24 years of household accumulation and renting out the house.
3.  Discovering emotional, prayer and/or financial partners who are passionate about supporting the team and me working to alleviate the physical suffering of the poorest of the poor in The Philippines.
Please don’t pinch me; I don’t want to wake up!
Be well!

Click here If you wish to receive email or blog updates regarding the work I will be supporting.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Manila and beyond

We have arrived home from the Philippines and before too much time passes I need to share the final stage of our trip.  We spent the last four days in both Manila and Hong Kong meeting the national staff in Manila and the financing board and support staff in Hong Kong.

An amazingly skilled and passionate group of people.  The Manila staff supports the 5 provincial bases scattered around the islands the Hong Kong staff and board provides the financial backing.

Here is an aerial view of Manila and a modern day Jeepney.  Some of them are REALLY decked out with airbrush portraits and designs outside and padded seats, LED strip lighting and heavy bass booming.  Others, which I intend to frequent more regularly are driven by the older guys with nothing to prove and they use the 20 cents/passenger fee for gas and presumably living expenses.

Hong Kong was amazing, the weather was unseasonable cooler (all relative) the sky was blue (usually smog filled) and the traffic was surprisingly sparse even less than downtown Portland (typical, well developed public transport makes using a car less necessary)

We finished off our trip with a board meeting on the 86ish floor of the tower you see just in the fore ground only 5 floors from the top.    We watch the sun set from the meeting room it was a true pinch me moment.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The islands

We have been traveling in the region of islands referred to as the Visayas were the majority of the 7000 islands are.  Bohol is the resort island with beautiful beaches and warm bathwater swimming.  Negros is a mountain island with the plains growing sugar cane and rice.  The fields were a stunning green as we drove  from Dumaguete to Bacolod visiting rural and smaller town recipients and pastors along the way.  A local pastor is the heart and feet of the community.  He or she is the one who knows who the poorest of the poor are.  They are the ones ICM resources so that the poor receive nutritional support, health education and livelihood training.  When a particularly malnutrition child is identified they come under an intensive feeding program.  We saw a darling little girl named Angel who was born shortly after her older sister and before her mother nutritionally compromised herself could rebound.  Little Angel has never been able to rebound from the nutrient deprivation and now at the age of 3 she looks like a lanky 18 mo old.  Under ICM's malnutrition child operation her hair is filling in and she is gaining weight.  By the time she is an elementary child she will have caught up with her peers.

I have very few pictures of the locals.  It is a bit of a sensitive topic as we listened to a group of pastors conducting their monthly Thrive meeting (ministerial association) share how the poor often feel exploited, believing that we profit from the photographs and they do not.  So, I have wonderful memories and many shots like this one, a rural barangay (neighborhood) path and gate.

Or pictures of us. First Brad geeking out over the vermiculture lab at the local ICM base in Dumaguete or the next one of me reminding the recipients  how important it is to wash hands before cooking and after using the CR (comfort room aka toilet)

Andy had his first motorbike ride to a local animal "zoo" where he saw the tarzier (endangered world's smallest monkey) and pet a python.

Off to visit the urban barangays which have  similar and different challenges than the rural ones

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Philippines adventure

I thought for the time being I would post our Philippines adventures here on my wellness blog.  As you will see the trip is related to health and wellness,  but in a very different culture from my own western culture.  As some of you know Brad is considering and being considered as the CEO of International Care Ministries ICM, a faith-based community development organization that works through local churches in impoverished rural towns and slums of the cities.

Brad, Andy and I board Delta for Manila Philippines by way of Tokyo Thursday afternoon for a 15 hour flight that lands in Manila 10pm Friday night, so we loose a day. The following is our 12 day itinerary along with what video and web pages I found by which to share where we are and what we're doing.

We overnight in Manila and then head to the Island Bohol where we will spend our first 3 days meeting the region staff and pastors, visiting the community they serve and learning about the wide range of programs ICM administers.  Sunday (your Saturday night) we'll be attending a slum church. Monday we will be trained in the Values, Health and Livelihood adult curriculum.

Thank You Video from caremin on Vimeo.

The itinerary says we knock off early to help cope with Jet lag, I'm thinking this hammock has my name on it.

Monday evening we head by boat to Dumaguete on the Island of the Province Negros Oriental. This is where our good friends Dave and Rena Larson's twin sons are living.  Dave is responsible for recommending Brad to ICM. After meeting the staff we will visit slum communities and participate in the VHL training that we  learned back at Bohol. Wednesday we will drive 5 hours north to Bacolod in Negros Occidental Province visiting ICM supported communities along the way. 

Thursday we will again meet staff and visit the orphanage in Bacolod. Anyone's head spinning yet??

Friday through Sunday will find us back in Manila learning the area, visiting Faith Academy and you guessed it, meeting the staff :)  Please oh please could I just remember a few of the names when this is over.

After church on Sunday at the local ExPat and then Filippino Churches we fly to Hong Kong to meet the board on Monday.  After this whirlwind experience of a lifetime hopefully we and  ICM will know if we are a match.  Tuesday morning will find us boarding in Hong Kong and the arriving in Portland at 8:30am Tuesday, so we get our lost day back.

I will attempt to post additional blogs from the various hotels we stay in and keep you updated.  Check back or if you are a Facebook fan, I will share my blog updates on my status.

Be well!