Monday, August 6, 2012
I will never have a Monday quite like this one. Early morning wake up call, mass, breakfast, and Sr. Loretta and I were off to school. The morning classes went well. I’ve learned the effective and nourishing technique of bribing my students with food. Whoever finished an assignment first and had all the correct answers got a pack of highly coveted cheese puffs. My plan was a success, and now I feel obliged to bring a tasty treat every day. Between periods, I really enjoy talking with the other teachers. They are an interesting cast of characters, and I’ve learned a lot from speaking with them. From joking around to learning about their higher educational experiences in Papua New Guinea, we’ve covered all topics sitting in our fluorescent pink plastic lawn chairs in the run down teachers room.
At break time, Deputy announced that there would be an assembly for the entire school in the dining hall. Before the assembly began, I got a tour of the kitchen. Three huge vats are used to cook the rice, soup, and vegetables for the students. A car full of cabbage arrived while I was looking around. It was all to be cooked with dinner. The assembly was called because the police were coming to give a talk to the students. Several Aligegeo students have been reported to the police for crimes. The police department and the school are going to work together to instill order. If a student has a run in with the law, the Deputy will be notified immediately, and they will receive repercussions through Aligegeo and the Malaita police. Four officers came and spoke about their roles in the community as well as inspirational words. Their presence intimidated the students, but also challenged them to take their education seriously because wonderful opportunities exist.
I left with Sr. Loretta before the assembly ended to go to Kilu’ufi. She had to bring a student there, and I was happy to go check in on Cayla. I waited with the student while Sr. took care of a few things. I saw Cayla, and she had very exciting news. A mother was going to have a C section in a few hours, and I was allowed to watch the surgery! I was very excited to have a chance to observe the Solomon doctors and watch a baby’s birth. It was 1:00, and we were told we had an hour to go home and have a little lunch before surgery. We rushed back in a short, violent rain shower, and quickly ate Navy biscuits, pineapple, and cucumber. Cayla and I reached the hospital at 2:15 with our scrubs and game faces on. In standard Solomon fashion, we waited three hours for the procedure to begin.
When things finally got going, I was the designated photographer. There is absolutely no privacy in the hospitals here, and picture taking is encouraged. Cayla assisted Dr. Solomon, a poised, slender woman with a whole lot of girl power. Cayla helped the entire time, getting way more experience than would ever be allowed in the U.S. Luckily, I wasn’t grossed out by the gore, and instead was extremely interested. After layer upon layer of skin and muscle, Dr. Solomon and Cayla reached the baby. A precious, healthy, delicate, crying little boy was born! It was absolutely incredible. He was cleaned and brought to a separate room while his mother was stitched back up. The procedure took over two hours.
After the surgery, Cayla and I went to look at the baby. We peeked through a window at this tiny, innocent, beautiful boy. It was serene to just look at this baby with the sounds of the jungle drifting into the room. There was so much anticipation and action before and during the surgery. Now the reason for it all was wrapped tightly in a blanket, sleeping. He has his entire life ahead of him to grow, learn, love, and make his mother happy. I was so awed by the miracle of this boy’s birth, I can’t imagine what it must be like for a mother. Also, I realize how much hell my mom went through to get me here. So thanks Mom!
Exhausted and hungry (yes, I had an appetite afterwards), Cayla and I called Sr. Loretta to find out if someone could pick us up. It was dark, and we didn’t have flashlights or our body guard to guide us home. Ben, who works closely with the bishop, Sr. Loretta, and Sr. Matilda and Agatha in the bed of the truck came to get us. It was necessary for only Ben to come get us because he’s the one who can drive, but everyone just loves to come for the journey. It’s great. Cayla and I filled up on dinner and tried to process what just happened. That was not something on my bucket list, but I guess I’ll write it in and cross it off.