Beginning of the second day and it has already been an eye-opening journey. I have the utmost respect for the Mayor of Glendora; the people, and PID. Gale has done a phenomenal job in assessing readiness to change: there have been community volunteers working alongside us yesterday and they are scheduled all week. They are engaged: they want a better life-- they need services and they need not be looked over and forgotten.
The "bed and breakfast" that is "home" this week defies our normal association of the term. . I am thankful to have brought soap, shampoo, etc. My twin air mattress on the floor provides a soft, yet chilly landing for my weary body and my ear plugs only slightly soften the noise from the train that goes by every 2 hours throughout the day.
Yesterday, Peggy (another RN), Rick- a retired ER doc, and I manned the "clinic" where we took health and social histories; blood pressure and pulse; urine testing and blood glucose and hemoglobin levels.
Themes already are high blood pressure; weight and diet; alcohol consumption; access to health insurance; lack of transportation, teenage pregnancy, lack of recreation, and unemployment.
The desire is there-- and they are aware of the catch 22 of having time on their hands-- using alcohol or sex to fill it up, which prevents them from passing drug/ alcohol tests for jobs, which prevents them from having money to support a healthier lifestyle.
There is rich history here and, certainly the lynching and murder of 14yr. Old Emmit Till is prominent. Unfortunately, right now it manifests more of reinforcing a hopeless and victim perspective, particularly reinforced by the realities of their day-day life. There are no busses here; the nearest hospital is 24-30 miles away.
I am off to help with breakfast and then work. I will pray this goes through and you get a glimpse of my journey.
Much gratitude and awe,