Sunday, January 22, 2012
Pilgrimage to Mexico
While I have participated in this pilgrimage, three times before, this will be my first time to take the bus to Mexico. Two days on a bus is an adventure prior to the adventure. My mind is consumed with two thoughts- completing the grant I'm writing for community peer educators and seeing my San Miguel 'home' again. In Mexico, I am called by a different name. I become Leonora (because there is no "SH" sound in the Mexican alphabet, the Mexicans have trouble with my name, so I simply changed it to my middle name). I can hardly wait to join up with Morningstar and the other women of Morningstar Community to make this walk through the beautiful vast landscape of the Sierra Madres of Central Mexico. I have been training for months, walking, running, and even achieved some small weight loss (though training in Kansas for a walk in the mountains is somewhat deficient). Mostly for the pilgrimage, what is needed is endurance. You simply keep walking until you think you cannot take one more step, and then you take another step. Even in the company of 10,000 Mexicans the landscape is so vast, you can feel completely alone. It is quite a journey. At the end of it (for me 3 days, but for the others 9 days) we will visit the holy shrine at San Juan de los Lagos and present petitions for miracles to La Virgin. My miracle request is well rehearsed: the grant, and then the clinic. In that order. It will take a miracle for either to happen. For the grant I am asking the US Gov. for 3 million dollars to impact perinatal outcomes in the urban core. This involves an intricate three year plan to engage community health workers, insurance companies, healthcare organizations, and governmental bureaucracy, along with community stakeholders. This is a long shot at best. I am untested and ignorant when it comes to mobilizing something like this. Yet, it could change my community. Follow that up with finishing CNM school (which I only started this week by the way) and opening a clinic in the urban core. Again, I am in no way qualified to do these things- yet they are mine to do. I could do with a miracle or two. Even going to Mexico is a miracle of sorts (the miracle of credit!), seeing as I've been unemployed for three months now. I am somewhat astounded by the lengths God will go to, to make something of my life.