The emergency medicine residents and graduates have been eager to help me get oriented, to discuss interesting cases, and hear about the differences in practice between Guyana and the United States. Now, after few days of on the job experience, I am much more comfortable in this environment and excited for the weeks ahead of me, to provide both patient care and teaching to the local doctors.
During my brief time at Kijabe Hospital, I was able to meet and interact with multiple people from different backgrounds, nationalities and professions that had all assembled at this particular hospital to serve the mission of the hospital and care for the patients. Though these encounters are often brief, there is a deeper sense of community and common bond in these relationships that is different from common work relationships or friendships.
Medicine often is focused on achieving a “cure” or a better outcome for a disease process. The opportunity to take care of this woman who was left alone by her husband, with her children who were about to be orphans, impressed upon me the need and importance of being able to practice true religion.
In the US, general surgery residents do not get exposed to a lot of urologic surgery since this consists of a separate residency training program. However, in Africa, most general surgeons still perform a lot of urologic surgery. I enjoyed learning a new subset of skills and operations. Overall it was a productive week of learning and delivery of medical care.
While many would view healthcare as a personal “right” or entitlement in the west, in much of the rest of the world, it is still very much a privilege and is treated as such. I feel like it is becoming a more infrequent occurrence for most physicians to encounter patients on a daily basis who are genuinely appreciative of their services and care, even when things do not go as either the physician or the patient wanted. However, this is still encountered in Kenya. Patients are usually thankful, appreciative and respectful.
No matter how much you’ve planned, nothing ever seems to come together to meet your original vision. But, if you remain flexible and open to new ideas, there is always a time and place to make an appreciable difference in the community.
The Port-au-Prince metropolitan area is about the same size as Chicago, with a population of 2.6 million and no sewer system. Today, GHESKIO is flanked by The City of God and The Eternal City—massive slums that an estimated 200,000 Haitians call home.
Nothing brings a trip to Cambodia to an eventful end better than a national soccer game between Cambodia and Timor Leste. Not only was this game the biggest event of the week here in Cambodia, it was the perfect representation of this country, their camaraderie, and their never-ending joy. This futball game was more than two teams playing against each other for a win. It was a representation of the ability of this country to join together, to fight for joy and for the well-being of one another. Hearing thousands of Cambodians pridefully sing out their national anthem is unforgettable.
An education is a valued resource for these students, and it is an opportunity that many Cambodians do not get because of poverty. It was an honor to take a small part in this life changing opportunity for these people.
We heard their stories full of unimaginable hardships, including tragic deaths of family members and even near-death experiences for themselves. Through all the oppression that these people have faced they have pushed forward; they continue to work hard everyday to provide for themselves and their families.