I had to mail a couple of packages the other day. It had been months since I was inside the postal annex store in our neighborhood. The owner, a dynamic, friendly person who knows every customer’s name, asked me how I was doing.
In what seems like a custom of our pandemic-era, we talked about the changes that are occurring and the ways we are, or are not, coping. We spoke about Health Bridges and our work and the pandemic’s impact in Latin America and SS Africa. At one point, the conversation – a short exchange – turned to the topic of the day, what will be the new normal?I’ve had this conversation a lot lately. I’ve had it with my family, friends, co-workers, and acquittances. The one thing that seems to come up in all of the discussions is a desire not to go back to the way things were. Over and over again, I have heard people say some version of – let’s not lose the pandemic lessons in our rush to retrieve some semblance of normal.
I haven’t been to Perú in a year. Next week marks one year since I was in-country. As an organization, we have decided that travel is too risky right now, and we have suspended all trips. As the ‘new normal’ creeps into view, I can see this changing. As more and more people are vaccinated, travel will re-open. However, I don’t want to jump back into the way things were. Without our team traveling, we’ve had to adjust, accommodate, and grow.
Our team has done a fantastic job throughout this past year. From the way we rallied together to remake our work in the pandemic’s light and wisdom. Our neonatal resuscitation training, led by Dr. Bob Gehringer, has pivoted to a fully web-based program. The team is training hundreds of healthcare professionals in Peru through Zoom and a web-learning platform. The Ines Project team developed a virtual communication matrix that allows them to stay connected with one another and the families. We’ve provided food, financial support, and emotional connection throughout the pandemic. The Casa Girasoles program is running with the efficiency of a Fortune 500 company – okay, that’s a bit of an embellishment 🙂
In all seriousness, the past year has been a significant growth year for the programs and projects of our organization. We’ve refined our operations, reporting, evaluation, and monitoring plans. We’ve worked together as a team, in-spite of the thousands of miles that separate us. We’ve learned to adapt and grow – even remake our work. I am so proud of our efforts. I don’t want to loose this energy and collaborative commitment.
Things are changing. The world is reawakening. The new normal of life is on the horizon. Who knows for sure what will be the new normal of our lives and communities. One thing is for sure, we’ve learned far too much from the past year. There’s no turning back.