Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Best Ambulance Run

Bruce, Shawn and I got home from Jamaica late on Monday. It was a great trip. We interviewed around 200 students which kept all of us busy. It is not just one visit with each student. Many of them come back to talk several times. We also have over 50 students who were returning so they had lots to tell us. Some of these kids have been in our program for three years. Now they are moving on with us to a twelve month program. It is an exciting time for them and for us.

This was Shawn’s first visit to Jamaica with us. She was just overwhelmed with how nice the students were. It is something that Bruce and I have always felt but we tend to forget. So now we are all invigorated to find the 200 jobs we need for everyone.

Of course, there were a few changes. Our Jamaican coordinate, Arlene Garrick, is in Oklahoma doing course work for her PhD. We missed her but learned to work with a new bunch of teachers who had been well trained by her. Sharon Black and Suzette Morrison took good care of us.

Our greatest find was Clive. He is the taxi driver who took us to our schools every day and picked us up after the interviews. He recommended restaurants, found the factory outlet for T-shirts and got us a stapler. Our most interesting adventure with Clive was on our last day. He was taking us to the handicraft market. It was two o’clock and none of us had eaten. So Clive took us to Miss Carmen’s. It is in the middle of the market that locals use. There were no tourists around. The snack bar is made from a 40-foot freight container. Shawn and I had jerk chicken while Bruce had oxtail. It was all excellent!

One other interesting event happened. Mid-week one day we returned to the hotel to find everyone bustling about. The general manager and the operations manager were standing ready to greet someone. There were police and soldiers and red carpets. So Bruce went up to the operations manager to find out what was going on. The King and Queen of Spain were staying at the hotel that night and all the fuss was to greet them. So we stayed to watch. When they arrived, King Juan Carlos walked past us and smiled at Bruce. Anway that is Bruce’s story and he’s sticking to it. It is one of those things that is no big deal but is still fun to see.

Flying home the airlines gave me an extra freebie – a cold. So I have been wimping around for several days and don’t have a lot to tell you. Pictures will have to wait until next week too.

There is, however, one wonderful event that occurred last night. We have a large party staying in Cabin #2. One of them was 9 months pregnant. Last night they came to the front desk to say that the baby was coming. The rescue squad came out in force and quickly had the mother and father on their way to Grand Marais. There were many volunteers to make this run.

As it turned out this was the couple’s fifth child. The mom was an RN and the father was an EMT. The other children were three girls and one boy. Yesterday was the boy’s birthday. The squad moved along to the hospital. Towels were being warmed where hot air came into the back. With the driver there were six attendants ready to help in anyway.

Just as they headed down the hill into Grand Marais, the father delivered his son. The baby was dried and wrapped in the warm towels and placed with his mom. At the hospital were two doctors and a host of assistants ready to finish the job.

It was the first time this rescue squad has ever had a birth. Everyone agreed that it was the best of all possible runs.

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