As many of you are reading this, you are sitting in the comfort of your homes very much as I am. Supper has been picked up or has been cooked on an electric or gas stove. Later, a Netflix movie or TV show awaits you in your living room and medication for variety of ailments is close at hand if needed.
Well, as many of you know, I just arrived back from a ten-day medical mission trip to Sierra Leone, West Africa. The trip was an amazing, eye-opening, faith journey. The people of Sierra Leone were so warm and welcoming, but had very few of the comforts we have here in America. The staff at the hospital where we stayed for five days were a pleasure to spend time with and observe. On a daily basis, I was overtaken emotionally by what the doctors, nurses, and lab technicians were doing with the limited resources available to them. What a blessing I received as I witnessed this team of medical professionals delivering the best medical and pharmaceutical care possible to over 23+ patients during our stay. My Sierra Leone pharmacy comrade said to me, "Wow, this place really excites you" as he noticed the chill bumps on my arms. I loved listening to the patients’ stories and observing the staff in action while watching the expressions on the patients’ faces.
Furthermore, I was overwhelmed by the love that the people and children of Sierra Leone had for four complete strangers from another very different country. The attitude they had for us was one of gratitude. Within several moments of having a real conversation with an adult or child from Sierra Leone you will hear, "Thanks for coming and visiting our country!"
This evening, as I sit in my house with luxuries that were not available to most that I met and visited with in Sierra Leone, I can truly say how incredibly thankful I am for the country in which I live and the incredible God that I serve. I am thankful for the healthcare advances and the pharmaceutical care offered in America. I am thankful for the patients that rely on me and depend on me to serve their healthcare needs. As Americans, we should not take for granted what we have in our everyday lives, and especially in the healthcare arena.
For the people and children in the village of Rotifunk, Sierra Leone, the river is a source of water for drinking, bathing, and washing their clothes. They have no electricity unless they are one of the few fortunate ones to have a generator. As you sit down after supper tonight, I ask you to be proud of the country you live in and appreciate what you have whether it be great or whether it be small. We live in a place where healthcare is convenient and in arm’s reach. We have everything we truly need right in front of our eyes.
Yes, my life was simple in Africa for the ten days I was there and it truly made me appreciate my life here in America, especially the healthcare available to us. So today and everyday … smile, live life with a big heart, and always give back! AHS