“There are many paths to enlightenment. Be sure to take one with a heart”. Lao Tzu
“We are beginning to SEE (Social, Environmental, & Economic Sustainability) the world & our place on the planet differently & seeking out new ways of adapting. This is the new ‘cooperative capital’ in formation – knowledge born of an awareness derived from a mix of science & awakening spirituality that situates humankind as part of creation rather than its master.” The Resilience Imperative, Michael Lewis & Patrick Conaty
Recently, a 1st Nations lady told me that her grandmother said, “the Creator was here before the white man came to introduce him to us”.
She went on to say that the 1st Nations people saw everything as One, which is why they could not understand owning the air, water, & land.
I began to realize that when we think of the Creator, we have personalized him, & you notice I said ‘him’ not her. The 1st Nations apparently saw the Creator involved as Mother Nature. A feminine, loving, nurturing entity.
I also realized that once we personalized him, he gave us Dominion over everything & we took full advantage of that.
We created the Creator in a way that gave us the chance to treat the planet & it’s indigenous people, wherever we found them in any way we saw fit, which was to eradicate them where possible .
What a great way to build a foundation for our children & grandchildren. Might we want to rethink our approach?
As to Economics, it appears it isn’t working well either. The system is built on the idea that what is in the best interest of the individual will be best for all.
In the Book of Wisdom, I read that one cannot serve both the Creator & Mammon. We have built a system on Mammon & it’s pursuit. Mammon for the sake of mammon not to serve our fellow human beings.
Through Spirit we are all connected. We all tap into the same intuition pool. We all tap into the same universal mind or wisdom. We can’t do it alone, it takes all of us.
Often, we just think we are completely independent. But really we are a part of the human family.
How do we get a spiritual theme back into our economic system?
As the end of my time here draws closer, time in many respects seems to speed up!
Christina, Holali and Christina’s Dad, Dan, left last Monday for Sierra Leone to continue the work of Christina’s sterile processing NGO. Emails from Christina’s Mom indicate that they have had transportation and accommodation difficulties… but I am sure that despite it all, the good work is continuing.
The Friday before Christina left, Volunteer Mercy Ship Surgeons, OR Nurses, Anesthetists and Sterilizers applied elbow grease to the Sterilizing department at Ignes Deen Hospital here in Conakry. Layers of dust and dirt covered counters and window sills. Rodent excrement, live geckos and clogged drains awaited our attention. Used needles, razor blades and bloody laundry abounded.
I had the job of cleaning out the toilet which was standing without walls inside the entrance to the department. It was used to dispose of body fluids and was a mess. In the bottom of the toilet drain was a tea bag…string attached. Tea time, anyone?
At the end of two hours and with the help of 20 pairs of willing hands, we left a department that was sparkling by comparison.
Christina’s discovery that the sterilizing rooms in Guinea are a disaster has been a rude awakening for the OR staff here on board. They have several initiatives training Surgeons in modern techniques, but to what benefit if nothing is sterile? What good is accomplished if the infection rate is 90%? After experiencing the filth first hand, the Mercy Ships OR Staff are committed to Christina’s project. Christina wants to return to Guinea in March and begin a training course for sterilizers in the city. Long term, she hopes to partner with a Biomed Tech who wants to teach Biomeds in developing countries. It would be a project made in heaven to have these two groups of professionals being taught at the same time. There is one functioning sterilizer in the entire city, but that one is working below temperature. Hospital sterilizing rooms are filled with broken down equipment, that no one either knows how to repair, or for which there are no parts available. Brand new sterilizers have been dropped off in local departments by well intending NGOs, without installation or operating manuals. Change is needed.
Unfortunately, we have our own equipment woes on board. For the past almost two years, we have struggled with equipment repair issues in the Sterilizing room, and this time the situation has affected the OR as well. We are down to one working Anesthetic machine, which means that all General surgeries are being done by spinal anesthetic, and Orthopedic and Max Fax surgeries have to share the one working machine. This will result in a 20 hour work day in the Sterilizing room starting tomorrow…with Ortho surgeries in the day time, and Max Fax beginning in the evening. Although the surgeries hope to be completed by 11:00 pm – the work is far from over in terms of the sterilizing room. Now no one person will be working 20 hours per day…but it will most certainly involve a heavier work load for all…and some weird working hours for others. Despite advertizing for a paid Biomed Tech, there have been no nibbles at the offer to assist the one Volunteer BioMed we have-who has been ill and off work. A Biomed is scheduled for a short visit to do some urgent repairs, but that individual will not be arriving until November 6th (due to Visas, flights and scheduling).
Note: A pleasant result has come out of this situation…spinal anesthetics are very well tolerated by the Guineans for General surgery, and are less expensive as well. It will most likely be our anesthetic of choice in these circumstances…a choice that otherwise, would have not been discovered!)
We added to the list of malfunctioning equipment on Thursday when a small lake suddenly appeared on the floor of the Sterilizing room at 7:00 am. It is just as well a video camera was not running, as I scrambled to get a mop (no mop head was on the pole) and resorted to mountain of small OR towels to sop up the mess. It was a panic situation, as I was unsure of just how much water would result. If it spilled out from the Sterilizing room into the ORs…all would be shut down until the rooms could be terminally cleaned. The good news is that all ended well! A cracked pipe in the Sterilizer was the culprit.
We almost had a crisis which shut us all down on Wednesday morning, when I opened the department to discover that our ipod was not working. You might think that I am exaggerating, but believe me I am not! Frantic efforts ensued trying to determine if it was the speaker or the ipod itself (it was the ipod). I immediately felt as if I was on life-support, and that the O2 had just been turned down. The panic that crept up inside of me was palpable. I had no idea how dependent I had become on working-to-music in the Sterilizing room!
We started by trying to re-sync the ipod, but no sync option was available to choose. Juan assisted by looking up the FAQs on line for ipod repairs. We attempted to download the most recent itunes software on a system that takes simply forever. (South Penderites: remember the dial-up internet days?…that is high speed compared to our system in Africa!) After on and off attempts for almost 6 hours (we did need to get the work done as well) we were no farther ahead. When the rest of our team arrived at 1:30 pm, I could no longer stand the mournful look in their eyes -and grabbing the ipod, headed on up to our IS (Information Services) Department in total desperation. Grabbing the first IS Tech available, I drew close to his face, and gazed deeply into his eyes, saying…”You know where I work…you know the conditions down there (hot, noisy, cramped)…we have to get this thing repaired..if we don’t, we simply can’t work”.
You never saw 5 Techies debate faster, or more furiously as they tried to fix our dilemma. 2 minutes later, they handed the ipod back and told me to wait 30 minutes and re-start it. The result?… it worked!!! I rushed to the snack bar to buy the IS team a large bar of chocolate. A small reward considering the near disaster they had adverted.
You discover while living on the ship, that things can go along quite smoothly… until one seemingly small thing can tip you right over the edge!
Hope all of your ‘small things’ are sitting solidly, on the correct side of the scale.