I've only been able to write about my time in Zambia until today. It's taken me about three months to express the reality of my experiences there without a full on wave of tears and a typhoon of anger. On my second visit, just last week, to UTH women's hospital I couldn't bring myself to go to the second floor where the cancer patients were waiting for surgery. I'd spent all day touring the different wards, but that one made me cry the most during my first visit and left an imprint on my heart because of the helplessness in the women's eyes when I looked at them. On that very day, I resolved myself that we would do something to turn this thing around with the team of people dedicated to this mission.
During this visit, I got a better view of the hospital, from the pediatric care and neonatal unit, to ICU, and even general surgery and imaging. I met more nurses, who are called "sisters" in Zambia, some who take care of the sickest of patients for a salary of less than 12 dollars a day. I did not meet or encounter any physicians in the hospital except the ones that were touring with us. The truth is, there are very few doctors to care for patients in this country. They are spread so very thin.
I believe deeply that to whom much is given, much is expected. That is the absolute in most of our lives. The least of us rely on those with the most. That is the reality, no matter the politics, or the current realities we face day to day. I grapple with taking so much for granted when I'm in Zambia. When I come back to the US, my electricity is never at risk, my healthcare facilities at optimum, my life at peak performance. I was awakened in Zambia. I will fight until I can look into the eyes of the women in our care in Zambia and see hope, and light.