“Uncertain times in our home are not new but practice has not made it any easier. Like an unmarked hairpin turn, September 2020 finds me in a different place than I planned. An 8 week visit to the US as a family ended in August with no viable way to travel back to Asia and a longer stay has begun. As a training coordinator for the Year 2 EMA physician assistant program, I can do some work online. Many of the day to day parts of my role have been taken on by education and medical staff at Trad in Ler Doh. I plan to continue this for now and travel back to Ler Doh as visa and quarantine process is possible for our family of seven.
In times like this keeping a few good family habits no matter where we are is helpful. Walking has been that habit for my family. Now we are in Pennsylvania, East Coast U.S. in a rural community. A driving community. We can’t walk to buy snacks. The only friends we see on walks are woodland animals. My days are not measured by clinic patient numbers and experiences and then the walk back home. Here we walk to think, talk and connect with each other.
Back in Kyaukkyi/Ler Doh, we walked out of necessity and have all the stories that go with it. Memories like trundling our suitcases down the dark foot path while avoiding scorpions or finding a large Christmas gift at a shop and ‘sneaking’ it home on foot to surprise someone or my little girls being able to safely walk to small shops and buy snacks are very dear to us. Sometimes walking to the corner shop for one item meant coming home hours later after being asked to tea at one house and chats at several others.. Walking around new towns on student trips forged special relationships.
Also back in Kyaukkyi/Ler Doh, the group of students I mainly work with are moving along. They have begun the last quarter of year 2 studies and Covid has not stopped their journey. In 2020 Year 2 PA students have so far had about 439 hours of class and 28 exams. Since June they have spent 135 hours in the Trad clinic with each of the 8 students doing an average of 26 full history and physical written assessments and 53 hands on procedures. Many of them have been unable to see friends or family at all this year because of Covid travel restrictions. Through student life meetings, focused spiritual support through our T-RAD chaplain, a few parties and plenty of prayer, they have been able to stay focused on learning.
There have been delays, but Lord willing, they will be ready to transition to Year 3 and work at Rain Tree in Feb of 2021, as scheduled.
Psalm 16:11a says ‘You make known to me the path of life; in Your presence there is fullness of joy.’ The path of circumstances continues to be uncertain but the path of Life in His presence is where we stay connected and hopeful.”
Sara is an EMA PA Assistant Training Coordinator & a Clinical Trainer in Ler Doh (Kyaukkyi). She and her husband Jon (EMA IT and Admin.) specialize -by His grace- in conflict resolution and the love of learning all things with their 5 children ages 3-13 years.