As the first rotation of Project HOPE volunteers were completing their time in Haiti and Colombia, we found out our partners the Navy were not quite finished with us yet.
Marilyn, Michael, and I went ashore today while the rest of the team packed for the journey tomorrow.
The patient flow went as normal. The only outstanding case of the day was 59-year-old Roman Dario Hernandez, who had a chronic ulcer that had grown to engulf his entire right shin.
Working calmly, Michael cleaned and redressed the area. He then prescribed Muprocin antibiotic ointment. When the tube of ointment runs out, Michael instructed Señor Hernandez to coat the ulcer regularly with honey and apply clean bandages. “You use honey because its sugar content is so high that nothing can live in it,” Michael explained.
After dinner we assembled in the Flag Mess for a special dessert with Commodore Negus and other officers. A huge vanilla cake with thick icing and fresh strawberry filling graced the conference room table. Team members Marty and Manish cut and served the cake.
Team members chatted with the officers and the other volunteers with whom we had served. A relaxed air settled over the room. “This is more intimate than the normal dessert. We got to talk to the officers more,” remarked Manish.
Usually departing civilian volunteers are formally recognized as an item of business at the 1930 confirmation brief, in front of dozens of the Navy brass. As the event drew to a close, Commodore Negus spoke of his appreciation for all the Continuing Promise volunteers. “Nothing is easy on a CP mission. The underlying purpose is you go to help folks, and you can’t do that but by giving of yourself... You’ve given your time, muscle, brain, and sweat to help the least among us. And on behalf of the Continuing Promise team, of which you will always be a part, I deeply thank you,” said the Commodore.
He then presented each of us with a Continuing Promise certificate bearing the fourteen flags of the host nations and mission partner nations. This evening was a crowning touch to our time here on the Iwo Jima. We’ve been privileged to have such wonderful shipmates.
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