Sunday, May 11, 2008

Right Time, Right Place Adventure

Readers in the past may remember that my washing machine broke, so I've become a laundromat customer. Yesterday was cold and rainy, no fun to be running around on errands. Today looked better so I went out on this errand. On the way home, I chanced upon a wagon train, part of Minnesota's celebration of 150 years of statehood. On Friday I came upon a different commemoration. I was coming back from the Mano a Mano warehouse over the Mendota Bridge. The walks on the bridge were lined with American Indians protesting 150 years of genocide. There was nowhere safe to stop for photos. That is the only reason that this blog entry is not more balanaced.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Warehouse Adventures

I've written before about volunteering for Mano a Mano. Today was the first time I've ever been to the warehouse. After we sort things at the Mano a Mano office, boxes are transferred to the warehouse. Large objects such as hospital beds and dental chairs go directly to the warehouse.

This weekend Mano a Mano is able to ship 20 tons of materials to Bolivia through the Denton Program implemented by USAID. How much is 20 tons? The photo of the hospital beds above shows slightly more than 1000 pounds. It really doesn't take long at all to load in 20 tons. The wheelchairs pictured in the warehouse are all loaded in a truck and will be transferred to the MSP airport in the morning.

My Friday job usually is to sort and package the medications. Those boxes all end up with a label of 22. It was fun to see some "22" boxes in the warehouse, now shrink wrapped and ready for shipping. These will go off in another shipment of 40 tons later than month.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Adventures with Tears

This evening was graduation. We have over 800 graduates so afterwards it's a mob scene. I stumbled onto two graduates in the auditorium lobby and one grabbed me for a hug. She said, "I wouldn't be here it if it wasn't for you." This student was in my fall classes. She came to me explaining she was struggling with depression and her doctor wanted her to drop out of school. She explained she really didn't want to drop out and wanted to know what I thought. We worked out that she would simply do what she could with the fall courses and I'd give her incompletes for the courses. I also avoided placing any spring semester students with her preceptor, so that she had a place to finish the practicum.

Recently I had begun worrying about her. If she didn't get these courses finished the grades would turn to an F at the end of this semester. Then suddenly in the e-mail I began to receive her undone assignments. In the last two weeks she has turned in everything and I've turned her incompletes into grades. But even before tonight I had good news. Her practicum activity involved working on a huge project between two state agencies, and now she has been asked to continue on the project as a paid consultant. She is thrilled with the confidence that has been given to her. She is also heading for graduate school to become a Nurse Practitioner to specialize eventually in pallitative care.

I was in tears with the hug and statement, "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for you." It's not been an academic year that I've enjoyed at all. It is so good to find out I did something for someone!