Hand delivering letters from our Vernon area grannies to their letter-writing gogo partners is a happy task. The gogos are always beaming, thrilled that someone so far away cares about them.
I’ve delivered 7 of the 26 letters so far, and have met a range of gogos. One is a retired nursing assistant who now has a small station set up at the centre to regularly test the blood pressure, blood sugar, etc for those who need it. One is HIV+ and has lost two daughters and a granddaughter through AIDS. One lives in a rudimentary shack made of boards, dirt floor and tin roof, but has a beautiful vegetable and flower garden surrounding her place. One is very elderly and isn’t able to walk to the centre now because of the pain in her feet. When I asked what she was doing to help her feet, Ruth translated that she puts a “rub-rub” lotion on them and takes pain killers.
It takes time but the rewards are plenty for me – hugs and gratitude, a chance to peek inside their homes and assess the living conditions, to ask a few questions, usually through Ruth as interpreter. Back in the car, Ruth fills me in on further details about each and I scribble it in my journal, then send a short email to each Canadian partner.