Mampujan Leaves a Scar


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Here’s some photos from my vacation in January, of beautiful beaches, great friends, and amazing food. It was good to have that time, because I’ve just had a really hard week and a half.

Work has been very slow- the community is so busy attending thousands of meetings about reparations and upcoming changes that there is no time or people available to work on projects and plans that were supposed to be ongoing. It is fine if these things can’t happen at this time, but I often feel at loose ends because then I don’t have a clear direction. I struggle with wondering how much I should push, and how much is up to the community. After all, they should not have to do things that they are not ready to do just so I can somehow feel useful.

To top it all off, I was involved in a motorcycle accident last Saturday and tore my knee open. I’m so glad that I didn’t break any bones or get a concussion, but I did end up with eleven stitches. Knees do not heal quickly. I’m getting better, but I have been trapped in my house for the last week. I guess it’s a good thing that things that my work is slow right now!

It is a scary place to be in. I’m realizing just how much I like to be independent and how hard it is to depend on other people for everything, from food to trips to the clinic to check on my progress. I feel very vulnerable. It’s hard to trust local health centres, even though I know that they have helped many people in Colombia to heal, but I just don’t have the same sense of ease that I do in Canada- I watch to make sure that things are sterilized and in secure packages. I find myself second guessing every piece of advice that I hear even when I know that it is good advice.

At the same time, I am very grateful for the love and attention that I have received from my community. It’s a very cultural thing to make sure that people are not alone when they do not feel well, so I had a steady stream of visitors most days, coming by to chat and to offer me all sort of advice, ranging from not combining watermelon with antibiotics to not pouring alcohol all over my leg. Friends have cleaned my house and done my laundry, brought me food and have encouraged me to be brave. A favourite time of most of the kids was when the nurse that lives across the street would come over to change my bandage and they could see the stitches.

I arrived in Sincelejo Monday night (which was an adventure in itself involving broken down vans, buses, hitchhiking and giant vegetable trucks) for a week of meetings and workshops. In many ways, it is a relief to be out of the community. There are a lot more medical options and the house that I am staying is in a lot cleaner than my house will ever been because of the dirt streets in Mampuján. It’s good to be with team members and to speak English, even though I am still missing out on activities because of overdoing it earlier this week. The healing process is going well, and I have to keep on reminding myself that it is better to miss out on a few things now than not walk for months and months. My stitches should come out in less than a week and I am looking forward to having an awesome scar!

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