So in 10 days I leave for Amman. It's finally starting to sink in, as the suitcases and piles begin to mound in the corners of my room. I am trying to keep my boys out of my toy stashes and plan clothes for 65-70 degrees (something I haven't felt in a few months!)
I check out our hotel and wow- it looks so nice. Accomodations on medical missions are not usually very deluxe and can in fact be quite primitive as in limited water, single bulb socket in the ceiling). My most memorable accomodations from a past mission was the Hotel Kunste in Kenya. The windows did not shut all the way (not good when you are in a malaria risk area) and I was always afraid someone or something would come in through the windows at night. I had to sleep under deet soak mosquito netting- which also takes some getting used to. Think negative 3 stars on a US scale. The only decor in the room was a book order poster (each room was different, michael jackson, kittens, island scenes) hung 10 feet in the air so you couldn't reach them or steal them even if you stood on the bed. In the Philippines, we slept in the hospital which made for interesting accomodations (so convienient to walk down the hall to the the patients) I do miss their great mangos and purple yam ice cream. Siberia wasn't bad it except you couldn't flush toilet paper and I was 10 weeks pregnant with my first son so I threw up in alot of Siberian bathrooms (something I prefer to never do again). Morocco was good, both hotels, the one in Agadir catered to european tourists and hard really bizarre evening variety shows, the one in Marrakesh was quiet and had a beautiful pool, only it was too cold to swim, and the side benefit was nightly midnight cockroach squishing. Luckily you are so exhausted at the end of the day you can sleep pretty much anywhere.
I am also looking forward to the fringe benefits of some good middle eastern food. Something you know I love after living in Turkey and studying abroad in Jerusalem and Egypt.Also it will be neat to see Petra and some of the sights of Jordan.
Tonight I showed my boys this clip from a past Operation Smile Mission to Jordan. So they can envision where I will be. I also started dreaming of where I'd like to go on my next medical mission (I know I know I need to get through this one first... but I am thinking Indonesia? Bangladesh? India?)
Then I read from the operation smile blog about the volunteer teams they have in Haiti helping now. Tonight's entry was especially heartbreaking. As I read it to my boys it helped them see how their cupcakes for haiti project really will make a different those 4400 pounds of rice and beans will feed alot of people, as the entry highlighted the shortages of food and water. It was especially hard to read as they wrote about a 4 year old boy with burns. I saw two very similar cases of severely burned babies when I was on medical missions in the past, babies who couldn't survive due to infections from the extensive burns over their entire bodies. I will always remember those mothers and their babies. It was such a poignant reminder of the realities of life and the needs around us near and far.
So my thoughts for valentines day... share your love, whenever, whereever, and with whomever you can. There is always someone's life you can change for the better.