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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

An afternoon with the women who changed my life forever... Nurse Margaret

MVNU "Nursing Folk" and Joe Noonen with Nurse Margaret 2010

An explanation...
The first time I came to Belize, in spring of 2010, I was with a small nursing group from MVNU running a small clinic in the Victorious School and community. One day, we went to the Good Sheppard Clinic to meet Nurse Margaret Juan (the founder aka the Mother Teresa of Belize).After forty-five minutes of hearing her story and our lives and outlooks on nursing were changed forever.
I wanted to return to tell her how much one afternoon with her had such a huge impact on my life and my nursing career and just thank her … and this trip gave me the opportunity to do so and see her again.

Before the clinic...
Class is about to start and I am frantically trying to finish this letter I am writing to Nurse Margaret, expressing my deepest respect, gratitude, and love for her. Lubdublubdublubdublubdublubdub....My heart is racing with anticipation on seeing her again and I know that as soon as I do, the flood gates are going to open and my heart will be more over joyed than it probably ever has been. Thank you Dr. Skon, for giving us this opportunity, I will never be able to truly tell you how much this means to me.
Class is taking forever today, pretty sure time is just about to stand still..... about half hour over, class is finally dismissed.. Time to go!!

The waiting room...
Sitting on the steps of the Good Sheppard Clinic, the very place that my life was forever changed...my mind and heart are racing a mile a minute. So many thoughts and memories...So many things I want to say and yet I feel almost speechless.

One step closer...
I am inside, beyond the doors of the waiting room, patiently waiting to speak with her. I've seen her come and go into different patient rooms numerous times... I cannot believe it. I feel like a giddy little girl waiting to meet a famous celebrity.

While waiting, I met one of the nurses volunteering there named Jennifer from California. She asked what I needed and I told her my story and what I so desperately wanted. With a smile on her face, she gracious agreed to help me out and lead me to the clinic's chapel. At this point, I can no longer hold back the tears for the flood gates have swung wide open. I'm almost in a state of shock and disbelief knowing that something I have been waiting for for so long is finally here. Everything that I want to say is escaping my mind right now... In the chapel while I wait all I can do is thank God for bringing this women into my life not once, but twice.

Still waiting...
Still waiting for what seems to be an eternity, but in reality is probably only five minutes.... I am almost to the point of being nervous or scared, even though I know I shouldn't be and its just intense excitement. Definitely in emotional overload right now...
Lubdublubdublubdublubdublubdub... yup my heart is still racing.
Seven more minutes have gone by and the silence is deafening. I'd wait for hours just to have a chance to have two minutes with her.

What was that??
I hear a door opening and footsteps in the distance... Could it be her? Has the time finally come for us to reunite? I wonder if she remembers me or the rest of the “nursing folk” as we were called.
A few more minutes goes by and then Jennifer comes, again with a smile on her face, saying, “Come with me, its time”.

Nurse Margaret...
Jennifer takes me into one of the examination rooms and introduces me, Nurse Margaret greets me with a giant hug. For a few moments, we conversed with the usual, “how are you” and “how do you like it here in Belize”, then I explained what our class is going here. From there, I started to break down again because I was so happy to see her and I finally told her how I had been waiting since the day I left Belize the first time to tell her how much she means to me, how her story and ministry of nursing has changed and challenged my life in so many ways, how shes such a huge inspiration and blessing in my life and finally to thank her. Her eyes too began to water up as she hugged me again, thanking me for telling her. Our conversation progressed as we continued to talk about God, love, and nursing. I then told her the calling I felt on my life for medical missions and how meeting her was actually the start of God showing me that my life was going to go in that direction. It was truly an amazing opportunity to site down and speak with her, listen to hear words of wisdom and encouragement, and pray with her.

I know that this trip was no mistake, that God placed Nurse Margaret in my life for a reason.
I hope and pray that I can continue to keep the words of Nurse Margaret in my heart and mind at all times and be half the nurse she is... And I cannot wait to come back and work in the clinic with her.

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