Question. Answers. More questions than answers. I am often asked how and why we choose the countries we go to. It is not that complex. We go where we think the greatest need is for the children at that point in time. So off we go to India, our 3rd trip there, but to a different location. South, on the very tip of India to an area called “Kerla”. We have several projects there with many children who are in need of medical care and nutritional assessments. A team of 20 will be leaving, 4 doctors, 7 nurses and 9 lay members.
I remember India well. The children have an aura of the unkempt, many with bags under their eyes, a pouchy face, or more often than not, sunken and void of emotion, and hair that is coated with dirt. I remember the times that we were faced with making critical decisions as to whether we could help a child or not. We did most of the time. And that “most of the time” is what still stays with me. Sometimes we can’t for reasons that may surprise you. No medical facility to send the child to that can offer the medical interventions that are needed and sometimes, yes hard to believe, parents who don’t see the need to pursue medical treatment, believing in an obscure spiritual healing that is contrary to the evidence that there needs to be a partnership between medicine and religion. It is then that I realize that the critical moments in life always arrive with astonishing suddenness and then they are gone without us being able to do anything about them.
I have come to realize that the decisions of our past are the architects of our present. I try to make the right decisions for my patients but there are times when I am in a moral gray area. How far to go with limited resources and realistic outcomes. It’s the age-old battle between mind and heart, which seldom want the same thing.
We leave in a few days. We will see over 1500 patients in five days if all works out as planned. I pray that as we serve those who come to us for help, they will be comforted by the fact that whatever we do, it will be a validation of who they are: persons. No judgment, no pity, simply caring and love. For me, each day that I am with them, will be the beginning of forever. I want them to remember even though we are there for just a short time, we validate that the power of the human spirit and faith can endure any challenge, no matter how daunting.
In all things give thanks,