I’ll begin with the trip back to CA on June 3rd. My visit began in Orange County at Rivka’s home. Brian was in France again this year with the Wheels and Waves group and Rivka, Esther, and Hannah Smith were trying to hold down the fort in San Juan Capistrano with some minor difficulties. Brian’s eclectic talents were missed in the area of general maintenance for sure. I tried to fill in a bit, but am not so good at diagnosing 1950’s cars. Esther is better at this for sure.
Marjory Clyne picked me up the second day in CA from Rivka’s work at Our Lady of Peace school in San Diego. Marjory and I then traveled to Temecula to see my Dr. friend Yuan Yuan Xia at she and Nathan’s beautiful home. From there M & M went to Murrietta to deliver gifts to the Scalfani Family from Adrianna’s sister, Ana Zavala, in Managua. It is fun being a courier in both directions. Marjory and I always have a good time exploring and share so many of the same ideas and ethics. Marjory dropped me off again at Rivka’s work the next day which gave us an hour or so of good conversation and many helpful thoughts from Rivka about my life in Nicaragua.
After ten days in SJC I flew up to Oakland where Aaron picked me up on my birthday. We enjoyed lunch and he toured me around the NEW Hayward,CA look before heading up to the ranch/vineyards in Livermore where I stayed with Adrianne Tarantino, Aaron’s mother-in-law in her part of the compound. James Wilker’s graduation was the next day at Livermore High School. This was one of the best high school graduations I have ever attended and I’ve been to a number of them. The class was acknowledged by all the teachers and the student speakers as being the MOST supportive group of students. You could actually see this as the great number of rows of students marched up to get their diplomas. Graduation was fun, and of course, I was freezing with my jacket and scarf wrapped around me as the sun went down. The next day was a big party at the ranch for James and one of his classmates. We Wilker’s spent the morning cleaning up the yard and pool area for the onslaught later in the afternoon.
Greg Wilker attended the party and took me to his home in Mill Valley for the next four days. My Dunkel Wilker grandchildren are so independent and extremely interesting to converse with. We had a great celebration for Father’s Day for Greg and his step-father-in-law who all live together in the Mill Valley house. Greg took me to SFO one night where he does standup comedy. I’ll tell you standup comedy takes more guts than I could conjure up. Robyn Bri, soon to be 16, drove me with Lizzie as co-pilot up to Leah’s house in Dixon. Robyn did a great job traveling the CA freeway system as a new driver. I didn’t close my eyes in fear once.
Leah and I spent time discussing options about my West Sac property. I made the decision with Leah’s help to take it off the sale market and rent to a young woman who housesat for me in the past. She and her fiance were excited about having the garden and a spa, something the previous tenant didn’t use at all. Leah and I spent three hours the morning I left for NI pulling weeds and deciding how to organize the heavy maintenance of the yard and details of repairs of the property for the future.
Time with my four children was very short this trip but there was quality time at each home. I won’t be going back to the US until next year and will definitely stay longer at that time.
Beside taking the W. Sac house off the sale market, I was convinced by all the kids to move back into my condo in Nicaragua at Rancho Santana. My goal in moving to NI was to be on the beach and living in Limón Dos, I am not on the beach. I gave notice to the Rancho Santana property management that I wanted to move back in September. This may be delayed a month or two for their convenience, however, it will occur. My NI family here where I live is sad and they understand, although I think they feel they are being abandoned, at least Lidieth thinks so.
Now for the highlight of June, 2014. The three day Aproquen Children’s Burn Center event was a smashing success. The team of seventeen physical therapy students and five firemen performed at four schools in our area and had attendence of over 650 students, at least 50 parents and 30 teachers learned about burn prevention and what to do if someone is burned. Saturday, the final day, the professional team of two doctors, the Aproquen head nurse, and physical therapist director presented the eight hour seminar on how to care for a burn patient in the first 24 hours. This was attended by 35 medical professionals including me. The intensive seminar ended in a 50 question test which I passed. Of course, the book and the seminar were all in Spanish. I feel good even though my score wasn’t high, at least I passed. Dra. Ivette Icaza, the Aproquen executive director was overcome with joy about the three days. The teams had never done a three day event previously and everything was organized for them, she couldn’t expound her gratitude enough everyday. Little did she know that I have had much experience in community development and logistics. The photos included are a minor representation of the work that was done here in the Tola, Rivas area. Thank you a million times over to the various department managers at Rancho Santana and my friends who donated time and things for the teams and the seminar. By Sunday, I was one pooped puppy and Monday back on the road to Rivas and Wednesday to Managua. I will be helping Aproquen develop a prevention program for adults in the communities similar to the school programs. Dra. Ivette and I have also aligned on dates for 2015. I will coordinate three day events in three other Departments/States in NI similar to the total logistics that were present here in Tola, Rivas. Always something!
My commercial property in Limón #2 is still awaiting clear title so that project is on hold, although I believe the seller is closer to resolution of his family’s land problems.
My circle of friends in Nicaragua is continuing to grow both in size and strength. Some things stay the same, like my need to contribute where and when I can. The other parts of my life are flexible and subject to change. Stay tuned.