Thanks to Givealittle.co.nz

27th June 2016.
When I arrived home from East Africa, I set up a givealittle fund raiser to try and help Ali’s family, given they had lost their primary bread winner.
The fund raiser closes on July 1st. We have raised nearly NZ$3000. A huge thank you to everyone who so kindly donated. Special mention must be made to the Mobile Surgical Services group who donated a whopping $1000. I have forwarded the money to Chapsie and he has faithfully reported how he divided it among the family. Most has obviously gone to Faisa and the kids, but some to Ali’s Mum for the rest of the family and also to the mother of Ahmed, the young man who died from muscular dystrophy while I was there. He was Ali’s nephew.
So, my fellow Kiwis have helped see them through a really tough time and they have messaged frequently with gratitude and love.
Faisa is out of the long mourning period required of her, so can now get out and about, see the sun set and live a little again!

Faisa is in the blue and white head  scarf. 

I talk to Chaps regularly on video messaging. It’s great to see his big smile and hear the local Lamu news.  Everyone is well, if feeling a bit frustrated with unseasonal windy weather, keeping the boats on their moorings. His son, Said, is now walking round holding onto the furniture. He’ll be one year old in September.
So, my African Family is well and happy. And I miss them.

Talking it out!

It’s early May already, where have the last two months gone?! In some ways it seems like yesterday I got home, then on the other hand, it is as though I never left!! Weird. Here I am on flight NZ 5002, heading to Wellington to give a talk at the Rural Nurses Conference. A bit scary, but as one of my friends said “it can’t be as terrifying as watching your boat disappear beneath the waves”!! Not sure about that actually!
I’m going to try and put a bit of a nursing slant on it. Perhaps start by touching on the way our background influences the way we cope with things. I think my farming upbringing, my navy and nursing experiences have undoubtedly shaped way I approach things.

Then, after relating the actual event, I’ll focus on the local medicine used to treat my wounds, and Chaps and my support of each other.
Finally our support of Ali’s family and their reciprocated love and care for us also, including our beautiful day sailing on Brage.
That’s the plan anyway. I do struggle to see the attraction in me telling my story, yet so many people do seem to find it fascinating. To me, I had no choice. We just kept plugging on.

Post Conference!
What a great few days! The Rural Nurses Group put on a fantastic meeting. The venue was good, everyone so friendly and the other speakers were AWESOME  (yes, Cam, awesome!!). We had a wonderful dinner, and dancing, at Te Papa, after a walk through the incredible Gallipoli display. A very emotional exhibit. Our theme for the night was War and Peace, and everyone did a great job of dressing up!
My talk was first up the next morning so I kind of hoped everyone was too hung over to listen!! But I think we were all undeservedly well, actually. A few nerves peeped through but I think I did ok, and lots of people came up after, asking questions.
What blew me away was the hugely generous donation the group made to my givealittle fund for Ali’s family. $1000. So kind. I appreciate that enormously. The Mobile bus team are a wonderful bunch. I want to join them!!

June 2nd.
Ironically, I’ve been asked to give other talks since then. Isn’t it funny what comes of the oddest experiences. I was just grateful to come home. But here I am, learning to be a public speaker, lol. The Mobile bus team have been encouraging me to follow up on it, make something of it. Who knows?!! I do think one should grab opportunities as they come; nothing ventured, nothing gained, etc!
Works been mad and I’ve struggled at times. We’re short staffed, super busy, nowhere near as appreciated as we should be. Plenty of criticism and expectations of extra work come our way but no thanks. I was pulled up for wearing the pendent Chaps have me today. Well , it does have cultural significance to me. We survived together and I like feeling it there. It hurt to remove it. I didn’t get asked why I wore it, if course, just an assumption of poor conduct. Is it any wonder the entire staff are not happy at present? Things can only get better and I try to stay positive – while looking in the jobs column, haha!!

I’ve talked to Chaps regularly, using messenger video, so it’s great to see him. Everyone is doing well over there and very grateful for the funding I’ve sent so far. Asante sana, NZ! I miss their big smiles. Faisa is nearly out of mourning, which will be a release for her. I can’t imagine being cooped up like that for 4 months and 10 days. I get messages from the others pretty regularly too, which is nice.