This has been quite an odd summer electronically from my perspective. First, I audited SPANISH 201 at our nearby university which required registering and then regularly using three new-to-me internet sites in no time flat. Even though I was asked to turn in the district’s Lenovo computer before my sabbatical, I successfully pleaded for an extra month of use because the course was, after all, “work-related.” Thank God! Our flunky five-year-old HP machine was definitely not up to that task! After I finally relinquished it, I managed to hobble through the necessary emails on my iPhone while we were on vacation. I didn’t really give stronger devices a second thought until we returned from Michigan in early August. That’s when I had two robust tasks at hand: continuing and extending the gofundme bridge to Nicaragua and helping build a cancer caring bridge.
Fortunately for me the Nicaragua connection is a joint one. Someone I’ve never laid eyes on—Sara Clark—has become one of my favorite heroes of all time. With a team of Nicaraguan women, she started https://www.gofundme.com/colibrielchile. During the liminal airspace and time between Lenovo and vacation, I was able to write an update for the site using my phone. Sara intercepted those few flimsy paragraphs then corrected my errors three times before the piece was acceptable. She kindly explained I was easy to deal with compared to the bankers and politicians involved in international transfers. Regardless of any challenging gyrations the donations increased and are continuing toward our stretch goal of $15,315. More importantly the first payment is now safely in the hands of Marlene, my host Mom, aka sister-in-laughter, and the other teachers, hosts and traditional weavers in Matagalpa. It’s easy to forget any bumps on the passageway, given the sweet success at this halfway mark.
Meanwhile I tried to update the HP to Windows 8.1 and lost Office. Argh!
THEN my brother-in-law Monte learned he has pancreatic cancer. Finally the sleeplessness and pain that has been wracking him for the past ten months sadly makes sense. Who gives a rat’s ass about computers any more or anything I might have to say about my electronic ineptitude and frustration? Monte is one great guy—husband to my sister Melissa, father to my nieces and nephew and grandfather to Sage, Lily, Nate and Ben. Besides he’s fun, makes a great breakfast and tells wonderful stories. Regardless if cancer kills him or he recovers, there’s no denying the unknown turbulent stretches he’s got ahead of him. The poor guy’s never really enjoyed marijuana either so doesn’t even have that going for him (yet!) And then there’s Melissa, don’t get me started…blubber, boohoo, blubber, blubber.
The good news for me in this sorrowful time is I got off my bum, took the HP to the Microsoft store and convinced them to reinstall Office (and download the 145 fixes while they’re at it) for free. In the time before that could actually happen, I borrowed Rob’s iPad and Carolina’s MAC for the afternoon and shuffled through what it took to start a Caring Bridge website for my sis and her beloved: https://caringbridge.org/visit/montepittz.
It’s hard to be so far away from my loved ones in these dark times, both my friends in another country and my family on the other side of the state. With this in mind, I’m not about to bad-mouth social-media-type sites. Sure, Facebook and Instagram can have light-weight, fair weather, voyeuristic characteristics. But when the going gets rough similar electric waves can even create food and lifelines. We simply have to take the steps, regardless of how rutted and gnarled they may seem, construct the bridges with whatever tools we have, ask for help widely and accept it when it comes. As a result, my Nicaraguan friends are now feeding their families and, less than a week later, the fantastic M & M team are turning their strong web of friendships into a visual net of prayers, photos and good will. I visit these sites daily myself where I find welcome encouragement.