Southwest Travels

Since starting Renewed Strength Veterinary Services, I have met some amazing people and gone to wonderful places. Wisconsin and the Virgin Islands hold so many beautiful views and the landscapes never ceases to amaze me. Without even trying, I see God in the wonders that He has created. I have also worked a lot!

My business and its name is multifaceted. The name itself comes from Isaiah 40:31, “For they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall rise up with wings as eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not faint.” The idea of providing relief services was out of necessity within my own life as well as the need within the veterinary profession for veterinarians to take time for themselves – to heal, to grow, to relax, to do so many things for being healthy that we tend not to do. There is also the dirty, not so little secret these days, about suicide in the veterinary profession. When people don’t have the time to take care of themselves, and they feel there is no other choice, some make this final choice. I hope and pray that I will be able to help at least one person see a bit of light, to renew their strength, and choose life.

I have also learned that there is such a need for relief veterinarians that I have not been taking time for myself. I need to take that time so that I can be there to help others. One of the ways that I take time for myself is actually to travel, specifically for missions. To spread the light and love of God to those around me when I am not in my comfort zone.

A year ago, I had the most amazing experience of traveling to Mongolia (review posts from last year!) and have wanted to return to Mongolia and continue doing mission work. It is still a goal to return, but in the mean time, I was blessed to be able to travel to the Navajo Nation in June to work in a spay/neuter clinic. WOW! I do not know what I expected, but it was amazing. Two Navajo certified veterinary technician, Thurman and Kristy, and I spayed or neutered 45 animals in two days. Although I am familiar with doing quite a few surgeries in a day along with seeing appointments, this was so much more. The first day there were 25 animals, the second day 20 animals. Starting surgery at about 9 am each day, we worked until 5 or 6 pm doing surgeries with a short break for lunch around midday. Thurman and Kristy were amazing starting earlier to check everyone in and staying later to send everyone home. They do this each week for 6 months out of the year to help with the issues of pet overpopulation within the Navajo Nation.

Kristy, Thurman, and I in front of the Navajo mobile veterinary unit. June 2015

Kristy, Thurman, and I in front of the Navajo mobile veterinary unit. June 2015

Thurman and I had a chance to discuss much about life and history. One of our discussions was about the Navajo (and other indigenous cultures) and the relationship to Mongolians. This conversation was similar to one that I had with individuals in Mongolia. Even their houses are similar. Unlike native people that live on the plains of the United States that travel and live in teepees, the Navajo, live in hogans that are very similar in design to the gers of Mongolia.

Mongolian Ger (traditional home)

Mongolian Ger (traditional home)

Navajo Hogan (traditional home)

Navajo Hogan (traditional home)

 

 

 

 

When you step into a traditional ger or hogan, you find a wood burning stove in the center, on one side of the room there is the sleeping area, on another is the cooking supplies, in another is an area set up for worship or honoring of ancestors. The difference is that the hogan is meant to stay in one location and a ger is used for a nomadic family, able to be disassembled and reassembled quickly. Even the landscapes of northeastern Arizona and northwestern New Mexico were similar to Mongolia. Alternating between massive rock formations, deserts, mountains, and seemingly endless plains, the landscapes offered beautiful vistas and panoramas that take your breath away.

Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly National Park, USA

Spider Rock, Canyon de Chelly National Park, USA

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia

Gorkhi-Terelj National Park, Mongolia

 

 

 

 

 

I was blessed to raise the funds to pay for my trip to Mongolia, but still haven’t raised the funds for the trip to the Navajo Nation. If you would like to help with those fees or for a future trip (perhaps to Mongolia again?), please consider a donation and/or a pledge of prayers that I always follow the path that God has placed ahead of me. Directions for donations can be found here.

Thank you. May you find renewed strength in your life.

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2 thoughts on “Southwest Travels

  1. Hi Melanie! I am a fellow DVM and made a couple of CVM short term trips as well…including being the first shuttle vet to Mongolia in 1995. God has truly blessed CVM’s efforts there in the last 20+ years. I think the Mongolian and Navajo languages actually sound similar..at least those who know more than I do think so…just another connection to add to your list. I enjoyed your blog!
    Sincerely, Sophia Norberg, DVM Minnesota ’94

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    • Oh! Thank you for commenting and for sharing this bit of similarity! I wish I had more time to evaluate the similarities between the two cultures. They are both so rich and amazing. I can’t wait to get back to Mongolia this summer. I hope to experience more of the culture there. Granted, I mainly stay in UB due to my health issues, but do wish I could spend more time in the countryside!

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