1/12 of a year in Africa on a floating hospital ship.
Wowzers. That’s so cray. So cray cray!!
That means that you get a serious and reflective short exposition on my life… sooo deep. If this isn’t for you then i’m making a post right after this full of patients and stories and happy feelings! There will be pictures!
So I know what you’re all wanting to ask – am I a man yet? Have I transformed into that awesome example of manliness that everyone aspires to become… have I become the perfect speci’man’?
No, probably not. Especially if the perfect man was Jesus, which I think we all can agree he was. I mean we don’t really know how much he could benchpress but I’m fairly confident that he could hold his own if he was to stroll into the gym. He probably would be that lean sort of strong; skinny guy strong if you know what I mean. Though i’m not at all close to that I have learned some lessons that hopefully are bringing me closer to that point. So without further ado I proudly present…
32 DAYS LATER!!
LEARNING TIME WITH MR. SIEMENS
The first thing I’ve learned here is that I’m not called to help the poor people of Africa.
But wait Kyle? Didn’t you go to Africa to do exactly that? What are you doing there if not helping the locals?!?
Fine, I’ll amend my statement – I’m not called to help the poor people of Africa directly. Why is this? Because of what I’m calling the first rule of ‘3rd World Volunteerism’: People in 3rd world countries will seem happier, friendlier and wealthier in spirit than those people back home.
After talking to volunteers from all over the world I’ve been privy to their realization again and again that in coming to Africa they quickly realized that though the people here don’t have many material goods they often seem happier than people back home. They then lean in close to me and confide that they think it’s time to redefine the word ‘poor’ and that maybe us back in the ‘first world’ aren’t quite as rich as we like to think.
Well I completely agree. Because I’ve learned the same thing here. The people I’ve talked to do seem happier. Everyone waves cheerfully as we walk by, people want to chat and help us find things, I’ve had deep conversations with people while walking to the beach that someday I’ll go back and translate once I learn French. We go to the orphanage each week and play with the guys there and I’ll tell you that they don’t seem at all like stereotypical orphans that you see in movies. These guys are all best buddies – brothers in fact! They’ve made their own family with each other and it’s incredible to see.
But anyways, yeah not a lot of ‘poor’ people here. But that’s not why I’m not here to help them. Or at least it’s not my calling.
My calling is to help the people who help the sick. Or the crew as I like to call them.
I do this by my position on the ship – communication administrator/media liaison – and showing media teams and vision trips around that will bring funding in to help make what we do here possible. Here is the team of awesome people who I do this with.
I do this by listening to my friends and encouraging them.
I do this by being positive and getting to know as many people as I can.
And it’s awesome. I feel like I’m making a difference even though I’m not personally down in the wards and I’m very happy with that.
Enough with lessons though. You didn’t come here to read my diary. Now I’m going to direct you to the next post in this series. The post with pictures and stories of patients hooray!