It's almost 11pm and if I can fall asleep soon, this will be the earliest to bed since arriving here. I've been waking up every two hours, facilitated by the train that seems like it will pass through our bedroom, as well as the chill that seeps through the very old window frames from our B&B.
Still, this isn't about not having the luxuries of life. This is about helping a town to have hope and for as many lives as we can touch to feel that they have potential.
We continued to hear themes of no health insurance; no grocery stores closer than 30 miles away; no public transportation so if some want to go to the store, they pay a friend $30 to get there! That's $30 out of their grocery money. It makes it tough to get produce because something might spoil if they can't buy fresh fruit on a more frequent basis.
Today, in clinic, I graduated so that I was testing people's blood sugar with a glucometer. One of my patients was a woman who was 6 months pregnant and still smoking cigarettes and weed-- I used every influence skill I know to get her to say out loud that her baby's health was paramount; agree to cutting her weed use in half and even engaged another "aspiring nurse" in the community to serve as her accountability partner. It's so much fun when it all comes together in service to helping someone.
We're planning our open house on Saturday for the town to see the computer learning center; have plans for a few folks to get their GED; and have plans to set in motion action for a recreation center.
The bridge in the photo is next to Emmit Till Park and is where Emmit's body was thrown into the river.
More to come-- thanks for your ongoing prayers and support. May you and your loved ones never experience the isolation and neglect that this town has felt for decades!
Love and gratitude,