Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Continuity and Change - Again

Do Blogs have Prefaces?  Mine Needs This
I need one because my colleague, Kampta, who just was ordained in May of this year, died several days after taking over Emanuel Parish in Skeldon, Berbice.    I considered him a friend and my personal cultural translator.   I will miss him.  Please say a prayer for him and his family.
Pastor Kampta Karran, wife Dolly holding grandson Kadesh at Installation.
And This Too...
My colleague and friend, Helen Browman, resigned as CEO for many reasons including being back in school; she is now an Associate Administrator and there is a new interim CEO and a new administrative structure.   However, Helen has continued to look after me and arranging for a "deluxe" flat.   I look forward to seeing her again.

Now Onward
The time has come when I seem to have one foot in Guyana and one foot still in Canada.   I am physically wrapping up stuff, like soccer season [tournament this weekend] and saying "goodbye" for awhile to family and friends; however, my mind seems to have arrived already at Mercy.   [I'l end up doing this in reverse in three months.]

Ayr Under 16 Boys
I know it's a little hard to tell where I am as we all look so fit; I am on the back left.\

This year will bring many differences from my last teaching visit in 2011.  Perhaps the biggest change will be the absence of my colleague, Tony Carr.    He will not be returning as he has family priorities in his life and.. he is really old. (Well, several years older than me!)  As much as we have distinctly different world views, we made a good teaching team... And sometimes, the "Dr. Tony - Rev. John Show" reached Oscar nomination levels;  it was a student favourite.   I miss him... and he isn't even dead.

PBL Course Changes
I'll miss him for only a short time as classes will start on the first Monday with a whole new cast of students and tutors.   First among the new tutors will be Nurse Elsie Asabere (left, below) a full time Mercy School of Nursing Faculty member.   Elsie was voted the "2012 Teacher of the Year" by the students.   She came from Ghana in Africa with her husband, when he arrived as a pastor of a Georgetown Church.
We are going to share the leadership and administration headaches of the course.  

There will be many people sharing the work this year as we hope to have four graduates from the University Guyana who will act as tutors with the Problem Based Learning small groups, exam markers and special topics presenters.    For their efforts, the tutors will participate in a graduate course to be credited by St. Joseph College in Connecticut.  This part of the experience will be led by a long term friend of Mercy Hospital, Professor Marylou Welch, and two new colleagues Sister Beth Fisher and Professor Janet Kneckt.   

I will be joined by three prominent volunteers who will be with the students for three weeks each.    First, Bev Clarke, a longtime friend from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.  She is a physiotherapist and neurology researcher and recent author of On Suffering: Pathways to Healing and Health.     Bev will be the first to join us, so she will work out all the bugs between how I envision stuff to go and how it will really work out.  She will be at Mercy from September 7th to 27th. 

Then there is the mystery woman, Trish Cohen.   I haven't met her and she has absolutely no pictures of herself; however, she is Canadian and from Winnipeg and a Nurse.  She has more overseas experience than I do, but this is her first visit to Guyana.  There is a rumor that she is related to Leonard Cohen, so we will have to see if she gets him to visit.    Trish will be at Mercy from September 28th to October 16th.

The last colleague to join me will be one of my oldest friends from university days with Maryknoll, Dennis LeBlanc.  Dennis went on to become a Baptist Pastor and has been a Pastoral Counselor around Greenfield, Massachusetts for most of his ministry.    We have remained friends over the years and our careers have paralleled each other closely.  Dennis will be at Mercy from October 19th to November 9th.

Look for a blog post from each of them describing their experiences.    This will give them some rebuttal time for my introductions of them... and give me the week off.  

Also, in the works: there might be a few psychiatrists coming down for a week to explore a larger commitment for volunteering and increasing  mental health services in outlying areas.  They will link up with Guyana's most famous psychiatrist, Bhiro Harry.    I am looking forward to seeing and yakking with Bhiro who I have known since my first trip.    I'll keep you all posted if it happens.   Maybe I can get a free consult too?

So I am leaving on a Jet plane on Friday... Start work [?] on Monday... And the Adventure continues.  I hope you come with me this year....   John