Informal Calavera report, July 2002

Hi Folks,
We’re back from another wonderful visit with our sister community. How is it possible that every delegation seems to get better and better? This delegation was possibly the most efficient ever. I could barely keep up. We actually found ourselves standing around and waiting for breakfast at times. Now, that’s a first!
In the Atlanta airport we met up with Sisters Ceil and Dianne. It was wonderful to finally meet in person after being in daily contact during the pre-trip phase. They were terrific traveling companions and worked non-stop in the clinics, seeing over 500 patients. Ceil and Dianne developed a system of seeing the families as a group, thus saving time and allowing them to see more patients. It also provided them with some interesting insights.
Anna Maria worked day and night as a translator. We never did let her stop talking! Pretty soon people were approaching her outside the clinics with a list of aches and pains, thinking that she, too, must be a medical professional. It was wonderful to finally have Anna Maria as a member of our delegation since she has been a behind-the-scenes translator for our ongoing communication with our sister community. She immediately noticed that many people in Calavera are speaking a mixture of Spanish and various indigenous languages. As a linguist she was captivated and hopes to someday meet some of the older members of the community who still speak these ancient languages.
Natalia worked in the clinics initially. But, gradually I started kidnapping her to join me in the schools. She also served the Masses with Fr. Tom. She was a good sport, even when a scorpion decided to interrupt her nap in San Miguelito.
Beth joined me in the schools initially and then started working in the clinics as the week wore on. She also took lots of pictures, both with her SLR and her video camera. It’s wonderful to have a photographer on board. It’s also nice to take another teacher. Beth is very observant. I’m sure she’ll have lots of observations to share about the schools.
We kept Fr. Tom busy helping out where ever there was a need. In the afternoons he said Mass in each of the communities and offered the sacrament of the sick. There was a baptism in at least one of the communities. Along the trail he made pastoral visits. The people in the communities were delighted to see him again. The first-timers on our delegation were impressed with how easily he hiked the trails from one community to another!
I had a blast working in the schools. This year I presented five different lessons which were prepared by a group of teachers from our community. Special thanks go to Deb Murphy for preparing the lesson I presented for the kinder and first graders; to Kathy Hansen for the lesson for grades 2 and 3; to Beth Hand for the lesson for grades 4 and 5; and Katie Bridges for the middle school lesson on geography. Thanks also to Anna Maria and Bonnie Zamora for help with translation. Surprisingly there was also a grade 9 in Guachipilin, the 5th community. So, I enlisted the help of Beth and Natalia to put on a little improvisational skit in English.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the success of our trip. We’ve never had so much mail to open up at breakfast. I love mail! Thanks to Alice Penrose and Provena Hospital, Ceil and Dianne repeatedly commented on how well organized and well stocked the medical suitcases were. Thanks to Peggy and Jerry, Fr. Tom’s sister and brother-in-law for hosting the delegation the Friday night before departure. Thanks to Sandy for enlisting help from the community in so many ways–transportation to and from Indianapolis, shopping, covering books, cleaning the water filter, making our trail mix, making the baby weighing scales, packing the school supply suitcases, and everything else that I might have forgotten. We truly couldn’t have done it without you!!
Stay tuned for news from the communities!