Our second group has arrived and begun working in the MS Delta. We are a small group (2 nurses, one education specialist and me) but we are mighty. We were warmly welcomed with hugs and much help carrying in bags. Since we are staying with Patrick in his apartment, we are right in the thick of things. In two days, Cathy and Marianne visited over 25 homes. Over half were people who we missed during our first trip so they completed initial health screenings. The others were people designated as needing follow ups. Cathy and Marianne were touched by the kindness of all the people they met.
The two of them have begun work on a resource notebook that can be used to find a myriad of services in the area. Additionally, they are leading a small troupe of women who are interested in being leaders in a wellness program. They started the week with a trip to a health fair with lunch on us as long as they made healthy choices. Each day, Cathy and Marianne provide a healthy lunch with a quick lesson on healthy food preparation. The ladies are such troupers. On Wednesday, when asked how they like their salad with baked chicken on top, they all said it was good. I caught Starr’s eyes and said, “Starr what are you really thinking, I see there is a lot going on behind those eyes”. She smiled and said, “this is good but I’d really like a cheeseburger”. Aside from giving us all a good giggle, it was great to see her begin to feel comfortable enough to share her true feelings.
We’ve had a great group of about 6 women who have been engaged in the leadership training for the early learning center. We spent the first session just talking about their early memories of reading and playing in their families. It was really cool to be able to remember together with them, books like Cat in the Hat and Clifford, the Big Red Dog.
The last few sessions we have done practice age specific groups led by team members. They are having fun and are really getting excited about starting this new program. Tomorrow, since kids will be out of school, we are going to do groups with “real” children. Should be fun.
Jillian is working hard with a two people who are scheduled to take a test to get their high school diplomas. They are both past high school age but missed passing this test by only a few points. They are working hard to get ready for a re-test next week. She is also working with a few on moving forward in their GED.
Needless to say, we are busy from morning till night. Each trip down, the folks here seem to believe more and more that we are here to stay. Because of that, they are really coming to see us a neighbors and friends. We are making a good start but there is still so much to do.