My parents and their parents, and their parents were all from Egypt and Syria. My parents immigrated to the US and I remember vividly traveling to Egypt with my father to get the extended family out of Egypt to the US to a better life. My great uncle, my grandfather's brother, was 80 years old when we got him to the US. He lived in San Francisco for the remaining few years of his life, living on Egypt time: he kept his watch on Cairo time. He was heart broken and missed his life and his country. He may have been less fortunate, but I believe we compromised the last few years of his life by trying to give him a better life than what he had. Less fortunate. By whose standards. I make not pretense in suggesting that those who live in the slums should be allowed to stay there and that it is not up to us to move them and give them something better. I am suggesting that we need to begin to understand that the life they have, even though it is hard and difficult, is in fact their life. We can make it better by helping them within their own community and make their lives where they live a little better. Displacement, moving, and suggesting that a better way of life is what they need, may be pretentious. It may be t he simply things that may make all the difference in the world for them: clean water, toilets, and electricity. But they can continue to live in their community, surrounded by those they know, in a country they love, and feel like they are better for it.
The harsh reality of Haiti remains. The confusion of distribution of food, medicine and housing. The devastation of lives and families. The harsh reality of the slums of India remains. Different, not as acute and traumatic, but harsh reality all the same.
Medical mission work is serving. I am reminded of the Anglican missionary motto: TRANSIENS ADIUVA NOS: "I go overseas to help." Medical Mercy does just that.
In all things give thanks