I should have more pictures of the “angels” who ministered to me but I did not take my camera with me to the Goshen hospital or Greencroft rehab. Two things slowed me after Rachel brought the camera to me. She cautioned me not to take anyone’s picture without the subject’s permission. (No one declined.) Another delay came because the batteries were drained of power. So I must rely on words to give you the picture.
One of the first nurses I happened to meet was named Ruth followed by a Spanish sounding name. When I asked its source she told me that she had gone to Guatemala as a missionary nurse and had fallen in love with a local man. I told her that I was from Franklin County, Pennsylvania and recalled that the Mennonites of Franklin County had sent missionaries to Guatemala in partnership with Eastern Mennonite Mission. I was surprised that she was one of those missionaries, knew another who was my cousin, and another missionary who had purchased my birth place from my parents after they retired from farming and moved to Marion, PA.
When I was taken to the Activities Room to use a computer I found it being used by a nurse from Nepal who was a Goshen graduate. She said she must write to her mother every day to assure her that her daughter is OK.
On another visit to that area of Greencroft, I met a Guatemalan woman. She said she has three jobs, and worked at Greencroft only because she liked the people. She said she would work full time but doesn’t want to abandon her husband.
Malinda, above and on right, was a favorite attendant of mine who gladly gave me permission to take her picture. She always wore a colorful head covering. When I asked her about it, she said that she had learned that many women around the world had some type of traditional head covering and that she was collecting them as a hobby. She amazed me by telling me that she was the daughter of horse and buggy Mennonites in Pennsylvania. The last weekend I was in Greencroft she was riding in a horse and buggy while visiting her home in Pennsylvania.
I was again surprised the last day I was in Greencroft rehab. My years in the South have trained my eyes to see variations in skin color and to wonder about the stories behind the differences. So, when I saw a tall black woman working as a nurse in Greencroft I sensed immediately that her family tree concealed no traces of white DNA. I blurted, “Are you from Tanzania?” “How did you know?” she asked. Of course, I didn’t know, but I told her that when I was a boy, the first missionary I knew was going to Tanganyika/Tanzania. She told me that she was from Musoma, and that she had read the history of the Mennonite mission in Tanzania. I learned today that Rhoda’s sister, Lois, knows her and that her name is Rose.
One of the men with whom I play games every Friday was admitted to Greencroft this past week. Visiting him will give me the opportunity to renew friendships there.