There was a short period during my childhood when I thought I wanted to be a teacher. I set my dolls up as 'students' and pretended to give tests and assignments . . . but I realized early on that I seriously lacked the patience and attention span to spend my days imparting knowledge and wisdom to the next generation in a classroom.
So I became an OT. Which I love. And have never regretted.
But when I signed on to work at Galmi, I did so with the understand that I would be starting something new here . . . which meant from scratch. And by 'from scratch' I mean 'FROM SCRATCH.' When I arrived six months ago, I was given two dozen wrist splints that had been donated a decade ago, a handful of knee immobilizers, and the hospital had a guy that builds crutches. I'll put it this way, if I were baking a cake, that would mean I've got some chickens out back that lay eggs, some wheat in a field ready to harvest, and a couple of rods of sugarcane. SCRATCH, people!!
The good news is, our little therapy department exists. It's there . . . it's functioning (well, as long as I get my coffee in the morning) . . . and it's figuring itself out. But the time has come (already) to expand our personnel. Which means I must dust off my seven-year-old persona . . . yet this time, instead of a worn out RaggedyAnn, I've got real-live people . . . who already have some nursing training . . . and have been working longer than I have . . . and who don't speak English.
Last week I had my first official 'teaching' session. It was a half-hour/45minute presentation to the OR staff on La Rééducation. They see me everyday doing woundcare, splinting and positioning, and stretching . . . but they didn't know why I was doing it. They pass by my office on their way to and from break and always pop in to say hi . . . but they didn't understand why I have so many silly contraptions and random items laying around. Now they do. And in two weeks I will do the same session with the hospitals nursing staff.
I've also begun teaching two of our surgical ward nurses woundcare. At first I wasn't so sure how I would be received by these two guys, but they've blown me away. They are sponges . . . totally hungry to learn. We started with a debridement of a leg . . . the kiddo had been bitten by a snake, which resulted in lower leg compartment syndrome and of course some necrosis. I showed them what needed to go and what needed to stay: 'See that tendon?' I asked . . . wide eyed they answered 'That's a tendon?!'
It had never occurred to me that in their training they would have only seen tendons, muscles and bones as pictures in a textbook. But that's the beauty of cooking from scratch, isn't it . . . you get to do it all yourself.
Living in Galmi has taught me that cooking from scratch requires planning, preparation, patience, skill, and a good sense of humor. But teaching from scratch involves two people: teacher and student. BOTH of whom have to meet in the middle. Throw in the fact that this is going to be done in everyone's second language . . . and a culture I'm not sure I'll ever understand . . . and we may very well have a sitcom waiting to be written.
I'm not going to lie. Somedays I think SIM picked the wrong girl . . . do I really have the patience and endurance to pull this off?? Is my French actually sufficient enough to TEACH someone else?? When it comes time to 'sink or swim' am I dropping straight to the bottom?? Can I keep laughing when it all goes wrong??
But you know, I'm not in this alone. He who called me is FAITHFUL and He will bring it pass (1 Thes. 5:24). Sure I'm going to screw up . . . that's about as guaranteed as gravity. I'll mispronounce something (probably being obliviously vulgar in the process) . . . and break cultural rules (as if I haven't already) . . . and will get tired and cranky and impatient and will want to give up (hey, that sounds like the past six months already!) . . . but when I look through the Bible, I find myself in really good company! The Word of God is full of screw-ups and failures (but imagine how much more fun they would have had in the process if they had all been OT's!).