Tuesday and Wednesday
My time here in Bali this trip is the antithesis of September. It’s calm, methodical, thoughtful and a bit luxurious. I have a hard time admitting that last one, but trying not to resist it.
I came here this time right after nursing a back injury, so was clear I couldn’t do a lot of patient care/birth. What I couldn’t anticipate was the total support I would receive to just take care and do the things I could do. It has been heartwarming to be cared for in this way.
And I have given in.
Monday I walked to the clinic to check on a document for the volunteer program I am designing and Kadek was in labor. Third baby. I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t resist. I changed into birth clothes and claimed this lovely family as mine!
Kadek was a quiet labor. Very private, so I kept the room really clear of excess people. Would check in on her about every ½ hour so she didn’t feel alone.
Active labor started about 5 hours later and Esther and I attended her. Her husband was too nervous to attend, but sat right outside.
She was strong and lovely. At 10 pm she suddenly had the urge to push. She wanted to have her baby in the water. Qickly moved her to the tub and at 10:02, after 2 pushes, her baby joined her in the water.
Third daughter…Komang. Came out quiet like her mama.
It took almost a week to re-integrate into the village flow. After a few days I realize I’ve ‘landed,’ but it takes a whole week to remember how my motorbike rides, how to load my laundry, journal and purse onto the bike for morning routine.
Then off through Monkey Forest…a virtual and windy sidewalk through a rainforest—to Ubud.
Coffee first, along with mango juice, drop the laundry off and then off to internet.
It’s been my routine in this village now for a year.
News of this new volunteer program is spreading fast at Bumi and I’m now in meetings over the course of day and into the night.
It’s 2:30 a.m. and Liz, Robin and I just finished a 3 hour meeting…trying to integrate all the information I’ve gathered thusfar. Robin fell asleep for ½ of the meeting—we were inside her mosquito netting.
This whole meeting was under the guise of a movie night—us trying to unwind from a typical and relatively uneventful day here.
The movie didn’t have a chance. It was paused after 42 minutes—freeze framed for the next 2 hours while we couldn’t stop talking about the new program. Their perspective on all the information I had gathered was invaluable. It’s feeling dynamic and more than a lot possible to get this off the ground in the next 6 months.
It’s now 3 a.m. and I’m off to sleep. Satisfied.
Still so much to do before I leave.
I love this work.
A funny trip this is…a blend of my own physical healing and concentrated, quiet service to Bumi.
This morning I went to the spa and cut all my hair off. It feels so open and free.
Met for 5 hours today with Robin about the program. We meet tomorrow again. Then off to the clinic to work on paperwork for the 2008 New Chapter Vitamin shipment. This is so fun!
In one week I will be flying home.
About a week before I left for Bali, someone contacted me after hearing a radio interview I did on Vermont Public Radio. I don’t remember who this person was—I’m sorry for that tonight. Because in the course of our conversation—my conversation with a stranger—they simply said, “this work must be hard on your family.”
I tried to dodge the comment because I didn’t “know” this person.
I remember choosing to stop my “dodging” mid-sentence and saying, “thank you for knowing that.”
For 2 days after that conversation I carried that person’s capacity for loving my family. I lean on it tonight…a heart that felt my family’s sacrifice and acceptance of me.
I have 2 daughters. My youngest is only 24 years old. She emailed me today—my morning. She was wishing to talk to me—so upset. I printed out her 3 page email.
It was single spaced.
Intertwined with her life’s heartaches, she wrote, “Well it sounds like you are happy to be back there. Good luck with everything. As usual, I have no idea when you are coming back, but I hope you enjoy the rest of your time there. I just didn’t know who else to talk to.”
The phone has been impossible this trip. Usually takes 3-4 tries before Tom and Gary get through. They both call morning and evening. I rely on these 4 calls in my day…an essential touchstone.
We have only had 4-5 good and clear conversations because of the phone connection impossibilities.
As a result, they have been talking to each other every day to see who knows what and who has gotten through.
They’ve been friends for 30+ years.
Measles is traveling through the village. Robin’s 8 month old grandson got the spots today. He’s had the fever for a few more. Two volunteers have caught it. I’m vaccinated.
I can’t sleep.
I wonder if I’ll send this out tomorrow.
Wednesday morning 8 a.m.
Came to Kafe this morning for breakfast. I have a latte and pineapple “lassie,” a fruit and yogurt drink with a funny name.
They don’t have mango juice here…my absolute favorite.
Last night Robin and I were in her mosquito netting, about to watch an episode of season 1 of House, MD. I’ve gotten her hooked and we found the DVD set at a 2nd hand shop earlier in the week.
Along with all of the logistics of getting this program organized, there has been a lot of exposure for Robin—the kind one is subject to if you’re the boss of a huge, unmanageable vision.
In this instance it’s easy to criticize the boss when you’re here for a month and think you know how it’s to be done.
Then go home.
In my listening, I have heard a LOT of that. It’s hard to hear but I listen for the places that have value and leave the rest out.
As Robin and I go through the information that I’ve collected, I can see the hurt in her eyes.
Last night, snuggled onto the bed in our pajamas, I was about to hit the “play” button of House, when Robin touched my hand to stop me and said, “thanks for not telling me to stop.”
Like water over a small, smooth rock, I looked over at her and said, “you’re not allowed to stop.”
Her smile was all over her face—the sun came out at night in Bali for that moment—and she just said, “thank you.”
I then told her that if she stops, I will quit.
Her 15 year old son came hurling into the mosquito netting then, shoving both of us over, and we watched TV.
Tom got through this morning, almost clear as a bell.
I got to cry and we did the best we could with our almost-clear-as-a-bell connection.
He assured me that I could send this email out.
The loneliness is quieter now. There’s work to do today.
Blessings to all of you. I rely on talking to you all and thank you for holding me in your hearts.
Posted: March 5th, 2008 under Clinic Days - Bali.