Saturday July 11th- Day 15
It is always best not to squish the bugs in Trinidad that crawl, stealth-like, between your keyboard keys, especially, if you are borrowing a team mate’s lap top. Twenty five team members from their different spheres of influence, having their own local customs, united to operate as one. Squeezing might be an accurate word to summarize some aspects of our two weeks together. We fit in as many teachings, trainings, conversations and counseling sessions as time allowed. Saturday morning while members were packing, a group went into town to shop. Upon return, while many were transporting their luggage down the elevator to the lobby - it stopped. The team regrouped, and some used the opportunity to carry their suitcase down the stairs as a productive workout. One might get the impression that the Regent Trauma Team resembled olives being tightened in a press. Perhaps, that is the process in which God uses to produce Holy oil?
We arrived early in the afternoon at the Ferry Terminal to ensure our passage to Tobago that evening. Starting with a wait, where the team debriefed “frontlines style”, some members looked apprehensive about the two and a half hour voyage to Tobago, and embraced the advice to take anti nausea tablets. Many within the team were amazed during the group debrief to hear that there was a warm welcome for Green Cross training to all those on the Island that work with trauma. They have embraced relationship and mitigated future community security. Emergency Preparedness and Trauma care on the Island shifted to the next level and challenged our own leadership to raise the bar back home.
“With every good” the Tobago bus driver hollered, “there is bad”. He was merely suggesting we not go to the beach closest to us alone, and go in groups of two or three to be safe, since we did not know the area, but he most definitely had a point. True strength does not come from loving those who love us back, or even produce instant results. According to the Lord we serve, He is calling us to love the imperfect. Loving the imperfect starts within the team. Witnessing begins as we model behavior that honors God. As we slowly pack, and take one look back at all that we accomplished In Trinidad, we have to ask ourselves, did we produce any oil? “You are from God,” the owner of the hotel exclaimed, “that man on your team spoke with my grandson and one conversation inspired him”.
It became evident as the mission spread like sea waters splashing against the reef, that regrouping, reorganizing and strategic training would be needed to grow as an organization, and team members would need roots in order to remain grounded. Trainers would need to multiply, and a passion to help others must be protected by self care and utilizing coping skills. As the vision expanded to internationally focused, clarity clasped the hearts of those searching for their next step. Some will stay local, others will travel to countries where trauma never ends. As we unwind and embrace a slower pace, sitting in a heat slightly broken by the Island breeze, listening to the birds sing with excitement, it is hard to finalize closure when each of us knows in our hearts that the press …has only …just begun.
By Paula L. Henderson
BA Public Administration, MS cert in Emergency Preparedness and Crisis Management