Saturday, August 5, 2017
Would you ever go back?
It seems like yesterday I was sitting on top of someone in an over-crowded mutatoo, sweating from no air conditioning, or eating matoke smothered in g-nut sauce which would unexpectedly become my new favorite dish. I could go for a bowl now. Where did the time go? It didn’t resonate with me at the moment just how fortunate I was to discover more about world in which we live in and the different cultures that exist. Often, I find myself in deep thought as I analyze and reflect upon the experiences I underwent during my time in Uganda. What I find interesting is how those are who are without an education can serve as skilled teachers to those who have. I found myself an everyday student and viewed the community as my classroom; watching and forever learning. In ten weeks, I was introduced to a new perspective lens of happiness and perseverance. Of all the lessons that have managed to follow me home, these two remain the most pertinent. I say that because despite being a developing country with a weak economic infrastructure, Ugandans have proven to be some of the happiest and most determined people I have yet to encounter. No electricity? They'll walk miles in the dark. You need a ride? They’ll pack nineteen people in a twelve passenger because they are going to get where they have to go, regardless. No money? Although uncertain, they will work until a little appears and will do so with a smile and a laugh. It mattered not what hurdles stood in their path whether it be financial, emotional, or social, they always managed to jump over and persevere with a smile and a laugh. I placed the obstacles I experienced back home into this new perspective, soon realizing how miniscule in size they compared with those of true hardships. How foolish of me to complain of making a grade in a college class after meeting those younger than me selling fried ganja on the streets to help support their families? Am I forced to leave education to support my family? Are my village members depending on me to come back and make a change? I had always been told by my parents there were others out there in the world that would kill to have the things I do and to appreciate my blessings in life greatly. But to me, those were only words. I needed raw, real-life exposure and once I had gotten it in Uganda I couldn’t begin to fathom. I will forever remember my time in Uganda because it further motivated my career incentive of becoming a physician. I don’t dispute health disparities exist in the U.S., but how do they compare to a country whose public health system routinely fails to properly serve its people? Do they care? When asked would I ever go back, the answer is a confident yes, but only on one condition: If I am able to make an effective, long-lasting change.