An Unexpected AwardWednesday of this week was the annual Mercy Day Celebrations; it is a day that all the long term employees are honored. And it is like all other events: ten, twenty-five years of servitude announced; person goes up front and receives pin,etc; gets a photograph; and clapping from the assembled throng...
However, this year with my shortened stay the only room big enough for the event is a classroom - my classroom! And Housekeeping has to come in and clean and arrange the room before my afternoon class and all my tutors have to go to the event ..... so I had to cancel my afternoon PBL class and the next day was a holiday so that meant that no class till Monday afternoon as I can't have the afternoon class in the morning because students would have to do their research over lunch. I was grumping to anyone who would listen about why the hospital has to always use the classrooms for every event - and have Housekeeping clean it during school times. I tried to get my students to stage a protest; however, all I got from them was a slow coordinated groan,
I complained to the CEO and director of HR... no avail. So I found some lunch and headed back to my flat to eat, get a shower ands put my feet up.
You know it is a terrible thing to be raised Catholic. At least, for the permanent residual resurrections of guilt! "Are you not a Mercy volunteer? Are not some of those people your ex-students? Weren't you there when they got their previous pins?" So I put my pants on and headed back to offer my clapping support... still grumping over the loss of my class time.
After everyone got their pins, I was sitting there assessing the programme to see the time left before I could leave, I heard, "Blah, blah, blah Rev. John...." I looked up to see Helen Browman , the CEO waving at me to come forward from my comfortable back "pew". The hospital was presenting me a special award for 13 years of service to Mercy Hospital, especially the School of Nursing. I heard things like for all your teaching time and financial contributions, etc. This was followed by an engraved plaque, handshake for the picture and applause. I am probably biased but the clapping seemed genuine!
|Here I am among the real hard workers at Mercy.|
I was totally surprised to be recognized and honoured... and even more guilty for thinking I should skip the whole thing. So this time the vestiges of my good old catholic guilt saved me.
They knew better than to give me the chance to make a speech, but if I had ..... I would have thanked them for giving me the opportunity to bring meaning to my living by sharing my gifts with all the people of Mercy (especially the students) -- including the bunch that will get their ten year pins next year! And then the series of thanking my wife, my children, my producer, etc... and having the luck of the gods to be able to spend a season each year away from my Canadian life. I would thank all of you who have supported me financially and with prayers. (Did I say financially? Remember, the plaque said "and for many years to come." Yes, I know, I am becoming more like Elmer Gantry all the time.)
|Wow... I was impressed.|
I looked around and saw the fruits of your efforts in the tiled classrooms, the spiffy room-divider, the desks and chairs, the students' tablets, the library full of textbooks, the "Faculty flat", etc... I am aware of so many people who have enabled me to be here and make a difference. So to all of you who are regular or one-time donors, big dollar providers, or who just give a few bucks to my beer fund: I share my award with you. More importantly, I share the fact that your contributions have not gone unnoticed nor unappreciated, but are valued ..... Thank you.
And thanks to Sister Mary Corona for all the lessons in guilt!
Mille is Dead
In case I did't mention it already: I have had a big rat living inside the entrance to my flat. I can hear her in the night scurrying around and digging. (I didn't really inspect it to know if it was male or female but every morning it was all cleaned up around her entrance.) It was a little freaky at first and then, probably through some form of Stockholm Syndrome, I grew to appreciate her point of view. I thought since we were developing a relationship after a couple of weeks, I'd call her Mille.
I had complained to our wonderful Maintenance guys and they told me they'd remove it... Well, the poison control people came and sprinkled poison all over. In the morning the poison was all eaten and that night Mille was still there ..... (I tried to buy some poison later in the week, but as it is an option for suicide here, it was not available -- and that is a good thing.) Finally, maintenance told me they were coming to fix the problem. Great! However, when I got back from classes there was a big blob of concrete entombing Mille -- and I found I was a little sad. I said a few prayers from the Rat's Prayer Book .....
A Real ChurchI did make my yearly pilgrimage to the LEFTI church near UG. My friend and colleague, Tabitha Mallampati, and her husband are missionaries who have been here many years from India. Tabitha first taught at Mercy and then went to UG where she has been the leader for the development of the B.c. Nursing degree. In my opinion, she has done more to advance nursing than anyone else I know. (When Dr. Tony Carr was here, he worshiped there regularly and helped with the music and choir.) I was going to include a video of the musicians and choir, but was told my life would be in jeopardy as they were not happy with their performance; so just a few stills:
|Shekar delivered the Bible Study|
|My friend, Tabitha|
|Isaac, their son now runs |
the AV controls.
|Bhola an old student |
Anything but TeachI decided that I was tired of hearing myself talk and the students probably were too, so I got another faculty member, Robert Binda, to come and teach them how to do blood pressures... just in time to practice at the Mercy Health Fair on Saturday. They really appreciated doing something practical... and "Nursey".
|At Frenzies' with Rashleigh who has never missed a free beer.|