This is the first story from the first block of the Life Quilt that my friend Joanne made for me.
These stories are for her; she is my muse.
This story begins with 9/11.
After that disaster occurred in New York City, my wife Betsy and I felt we needed to act, to support a charity that had shown quick meaningful help in emergencies .
We chose Northwest Medical Teams (now Medical Teams International) located in Tigard, OR, because they were first out the door bringing needed medical people and supplies to the heart of disasters.
After we made a sizable donation NWMT, they contacted us to see if we wanted to go on a trip.
The trip was a Gift of Hope trip to Mexico, Oaxaca and Mexico City. I went.
After returning I asked if there was another one I could help with.
NWMT said yes. Peru?
When I was departing for Peru I found this Portland Oregon tee shirt at an airport gift shop.
I had long collected tee shirts in my travels with city names for my daughter, Becca.
But this time I wanted to wear the shirt to show people where I was from, Portland, OR.
Though I am originally from Fort Collins, CO, I had lived in Portland for thirty years and taught high school science, math, and computers. I had raised my family there.
I was proud of the Rose City.
We were in Coya, Peru, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas, an hour and a half from the nearest medical clinic in Cusco (the navel of the world, well one of them, there are seven).
We were there to change a prison (it was a prison for runaway horses, but you get the idea) into a medical clinic so that teams of doctors from the states could come and treat local people. There were specialized teams for plastic surgery, orthopedics, ophthomology and more. Sixteen medical teams, as it turned out, came after the completion the next year. .
We worked for seven days, went to see Macchu Picchu, and ate local foods (though not cuy, because my son Teddy had a favorite guinea pig at home).
I, and the attorney Ben, were the only ones not experienced in carpentry, plumbing or electricity. We worked as the manual labor.
Every time I see the Portland Oregon tee shirt I think of Peru.
I sleep in my memories made into the Life Quilt.
– Small town boy