These two boys were not content to see the stranger pass by through dirty glass. They ran over to the window and threw it open! Why? Because they wanted to see something new without the haze of dirt, others fingerprints, and the way light changes through glass. It might have been safer to see the stranger pass from inside, but the vivid experience would have been lost.
I find that the team members on each trip have that moment when they open the door of their heart and let new light shine in. For some, it happens almost as soon as they arrive in the country. Others need more time to acclimate and adjust to the new surroundings. But it always happens. And when it does, their ability to serve is greatly expanded and they are never the same. I see it happen in the people we serve as well. Just like these two boys in the picture.
I think that the cultural nature of health care professionals in many countries jades the ability to share exactly what is going on. I find that many yell in hopes that the doctor will hear them – they want to be understood. Sometimes they will exaggerate their symptoms because it might be weeks or months before they have the opportunity to see a doctor or nurse again and they really want to make sure that their problem is addressed. I encourage our team to take a different approach. I tell them to act like they are talking to a king, queen, prince, or princess. I want them to have a reverence for the person they are caring for because many have never experience that level of respect.
When you live in trash heaps with human waste and little food, your dignity is pretty low. But if we can help bring a level of respect, humility, and grace to the doctor/patient relationship, it seems like healing of the heart begins pretty quickly. Healing a broken heart transcends language barriers and fosters an environment for other issues to be addressed.
This boils down to bringing humanity back into health care and doing to others exactly as you would want to be treated if the role were reversed. That is part of Epik Missions. That is helping heal a world.