Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Today marks a week

Today is the 7th day since arriving here in Shell. The time has flown by. We were and still are being warmly welcomed by the missionary community as well as the local people. It is interesting to note that as we have introduced ourselves to various shop owners, employees, etc.. around the community they do not immediately respond with their name. Their first question is, "How long will you be living here?"

Shell has a very transient missionary community, as it hosts medical students and residents and short term teams year round for a little as 2 weeks up to 6 months to a year. We are honest with them when we tell them, "at least 2 years, perhaps longer." At this point, they then respond with, "Bienvenidos, me llamo _______. (Welcome, my name is__________). If they know we aren't here for a vacation, or just passing through, then they are willing to honor us with their name and perhaps in the future their friendship.

So the first week has consisted of a lot of cleaning and repairing. The house that we moved into was freshly painted, but had not been lived in for 2-3 months, which with the jungle as your backyard is a long time for ants, spiders and termites to move in - as well as mold to grow.
As of today, we can begin creating our own dirt.

We have walked the 4 blocks to town frequently already, trying to figure out where and how to buy groceries. No Wal-marts here - but we have Cynthia, who runs the meat market and takes orders over the phone and we have Rosita who runs a convenience store that carries peanut butter because the missionaries like it and then we have the lady who drives 2.5 hours with a truck full of veggies to sell them in town. Not one stop shopping but it does provide more opportunity to get to know the local people.

The kids started school today - next Monday will be the official beginning of 2nd semester but this will allow them time to get used to the schedule. Nate Saint Memorial School is a four room school house with a library and office. Each room hosts a split class beginning in 1st grade and continuing through 8th grade. Adrianne is one of 4 kids, while Joshua is one of 5 kids. Kevin has the largest class with 6 kids. Do to the transient missionary community, Joshua will have to say good-bye to 2 classmates and Adrianne 1 classmate in 2 months.

Eric begins his official first day in the office tomorrow. He has been spending several hours each day in the maintenance department of the hospital for several reasons -0ne of which is the fact that they have tools! Of course he has needed to use the tools to repair doors, etc. He has also made fast friends with the men that work there.

As for me, I am working to make the house a home, helping the kids with transition (as well as myself!) and catching up on paperwork that we did not have time to complete in Costa Rica. Over the next few weeks as a schedule is established I will be starting to provide some Occupational Therapy services at the local orphanage and possibly the hospital as they have need.

Until the next time!

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