Feliz año nuevo! Happy New Year!
It’s a little crazy that we are already a few weeks into 2024, and that it’s already time for another update. 2023 had a quiet ending which I am grateful for. I celebrated my second Christmas here in the DR, and while I can’t help but miss my family and our Christmas traditions, I am thankful to experience Christmas traditions here with people I consider family. On Christmas Eve/Noche Buena the Buchers and I spent the evening with our friend Olvis and his family. We laughed a lot, ate lots of good food, and made some sweet memories. Christmas day was spent with the Buchers and was pretty lowkey which was nice – time to just be together and celebrate Jesus. I then spent the rest of that week catching up on a lot of computer work, and prepping for our busy next few months.
To kick off the new year, the Buchers and I (plus our 3 dogs) spent a few days in Jarabacoa which is a mountain town that takes about 4.5 hours to drive to. I visited Jarabacoa this time last year with friends, but we stayed up in the mountains, so it was neat to get to explore more of the town this year. One day Jeff arranged a tour of the Spirit Mountain coffee farm, and we learned so much about the entire coffee making process. We spent another morning exploring a local waterfall which was a lot of fun for both the humans and the dogs! I am thankful we were able to have this time away before the busy season began.
To start the year off strong, we have 5 straight weeks of teams, 1 week off, and then another 4 weeks straight of teams. All of those weeks are medical, including 4 weeks of surgery. So yeah, busy season!
So far we have had 2 weeks of teams. The first week we had 2 barrio teams. At least half of each of the teams were returners which makes my job a lot easier, and it also means that I got to see a lot of familiar faces! This past week we had a team from Gainesville, Georgia and they had both a barrio team and a surgical team. The surgical team included 3 surgeons with 3 different specialties (ENT, gynecology, and general surgery). This was my first surgical week at the new clinic, and it honestly went really well! I love surgical weeks because they are such a beautiful example of teamwork – we are at our best when the US, SRI, and Dominican clinic staff all work together. I am thankful I get to play a small part in these weeks!
For those wondering, I have been doing well since returning back to the DR. I am able to drive and make the turn into the clinic without feeling anxious or panicky which is a HUGE praise! Again, super thankful that I was able to attend the counseling retreat to work through the accident. I am also thankful for everything else that I learned at counseling. I feel like I have already established healthier balance and boundaries since returning to the DR, and I plan to be very intentional about that this year. As a sweet team member reminded me this past week, you have to take care of yourself so that you can take care of others.
- Health and safety
- Endurance to get through these next very full/busy weeks
- And, as always, Spanish