It's that simple.
Today was our 2nd day of pre-screening. They were the Palestinian kids and some more Jordanian that were deterred from the rain yesterday. It rained so bad this morning- our bus ride felt like splash mountain with all the puddles we were going to. This morning we found out that over 179 patients were screened yesterday. Only 2 were not candidates for surgery. Today, about 208 kids were screened. I'm not sure exactly how many are/aren't candidates or what priorites they are, but that is about 400 patients screened today. I'm not sure why, but it didn't feel like there were more ppl today than yesterday. With about 400 kids screened, only about 100 are going to get operations this mission. I think that is when reality really set in for me today. We were talking about all the adorable people who have come in and then I realized that only a quarter of them are going to be able to go home with something new. Everyone back home: RAISE MORE MONEY!!! It was a much different day than yesterday, but all I know is that
Today was a great day. :)
I just started off the day by filling up my backpack with pipe cleaners, hair barrettes, balls, coloring books and crayons. I fill all my pockets with little things and then in my hand I carry a sheet of stickers. Stickers also transcend all language barriers. I just go up to someone, Smile, and ask them if they want to pick a sticker and put it on their hand or their forehead. Most of the time, they are shy at first or they look to their parents for the "uh.. is it ok?" look. Then, they choose one and I stick it somewhere. Then they give me a huge smile and then they open up a little more. Then, I gave each child somethign special. Usually if they were shyer, I let them pick a color of pipe cleaner and then I would use it to make a flower and tie it up with another one and give it to them. They loved it. Or let them choose a color of hair barrette and stick it in their hair, or give them a ball or something like that. Then, I would ask if I could take their picture and they didn't really like it, but then they LOVED seeing them-- so did the parents, and then they would want to take more. If a baby was crying, I would go up to it and just start blowing bubbles. Instantly, they would stop and start to engage. Then a bunch of little kids just huddle around and start to have so much fun. I have a permanent smile on my face now. It is so much fun. I LOVE it here. I LOVE these children.
For everyone prepping to go on their missions: You might get tired (Weirdly, I am not jetlagged or anything. Taylor is still struggling and looks pretty tired but I'm a ok haha) anyways, you might feel tired or want to stop playing with the kdis or something (I haven't had this feeling but idk, I guess it would be easy to feel this way)--- one tip for you. Forget about yourself and Deal With It. It's not about you. They say this at MTW but you don't really see it till you get there I think. This mission is SO not about you. You're here for a reason. So dont' forget it.. and pick something up and make someone smile:) It's so much easier that way. And I have never been happier in my life.
Taylor and I did several presentations today on Dental Hygiene. Doc- the kids LOVED the teeth models and the massive toothbrush. They are INCREDIBLE. Thank you. I am so glad that I get to do these presentations for them. It helps the kids, and the families. I am so honored.
Today, I got the opportunity to get close to parents and patients more. I fell in love with so many more children and their families. I got a lot of little notes from my new friends with their names and stuff like "I love you forever". Wow. If only I could bottle that and keep it for the rest of my life. They are so grateful that we are there and it is an incredible spirit you feel there. I didn't want to leave the hospital. I wish that I could tell you every story that I have about each individual patient. They are beautiful. They are so gorgeous and I only wish that I could take them home with me!!! Today, a bunch of us were talking about patients we saw yesterday and they were saying like oh yeah- he had the bilateral cleft, or she had the big burn on her face-- I found it kindof crazy that I didn't remember. The biggest thing that I remember yesterday about the kids were their eyes. I didn't really remember who had what deformity or what was wrong with them. I remember their enormous, infectious smiles and their happy spirit. I don't think that any amount of pictures will prepare you for the people you will see on these missions. I can't believe that some stuff is possible. Holes in the middle of your faces. Burns all down your face or your chest. NO palates. Just.. everything. It's heartbreaking- but at the same time it's incredible to know that we can help transform lives.
I really don't know if I have ever been happier in my life. I haven't smiled this much.. ever. I have never laughed more. (And if you know me, you know that that is a pretty profound statement). I have never felt dirtier covered in grime and dirt and everything you can image. But I have never felt more immersed in love and care or appreciation. Like the title of this post-- if you want to feel like you have EVERYTHING in the world: Give. I'm serious. Whether what you give is a sticker, a ball, a yoyo or a life altering surgery. Give. and Smile. That is all you need to do in life to be happy.
I wish I could post about each and every child that I came in contact with. Each has such a unique story and I can't even begin to describe how beautiful these kids are. I'm being completely honest- I have never seen more beautiful children. They are mine. Ahhhh. At least I want them to be.
I am also LOVING my team. Leslie, the Child Life specialist- is soooo amazing. She is an inspiring person and I am so glad that I get to work with her. She has a really beautiful spirit and she is so fun to be with. Omar is also here from North Carolina. He is from Jordan- so he is very helpful. He is one of my closer friends on the mission. Haneen reminds me of Tenaya. Just the way she looks and acts. It's so cute! She is also ridiculously mini size. She's so cute haha but she does an INCREDIBLE job. She is the Program Coordinator from Jordan. We all have nametags with our names written in Englisha and Arabic with our positions. Mine says Student, or Pre/Post op Nurse, etc- Haneens says "Tiny Boss" hahahah. I love it.
The spirit is so strong here. I am growing more as a person here than I have ever. It is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. It is a million times more than everythign I could ever have lived it up to be. Overratting a mission is impossible.
Anything else.. uhh.. OH! Mitch- tell Papa Johnson that the eyeballs are AMAZING. Like.. I had to HIDE them from everyone in the storage room because the VOLUNTEERS were in search of them. People on the team were asking for them and going through the box of toys in our stock room so they could have them. I had to take all of them and put them in my backpack and give them out sparingly ONLY to kids so that no one would take them. All day, I had ppl asking me if they could have one- it was so funny. One guy said he was going to give it away and he actually saved it for himself but another guy brought ti back for me. It was hilarious. They are such a huge hit!
I guess the only other thing I have left to say today is have a positive attitude, and SMILE. Make someone else Smile. That is the only thing I want to and have done like all day. I even found myself creepily just smling as I was walking places. It's contagious and infectious- and a smile lightens any mood. It turns night to day and can change or at least impact a life. so do it. Smile.
My Arabic is growing!
Ismi___ is My name is ___
Mish Mouskola means It's Alright
Shukran! Is Thanks
Afwan! is You're welcome
I learned more, just can't remeber right now.
I'm staying in Jordan. Sorry to everyone back home who wants me there. Haha I'm staying.