“Lord make me an instrument of your peace ...”
Yesterday was a particularly tough day for the team. The weather was cold, windy and harsh. The old grammar school class rooms were dingy and drafty. The team was far from the comforts of their offices back home, yet the team remained upbeat. I asked team leader Richard, what keeps him motivated after a day like that and how he keeps the team motivated. He told me the team keeps him motivated, he did not hear one team member complain about the rough working conditions. Little encouragement was needed. The wool blankets and gloves he handed out were met with gratitude and later passed onto the poor. “I don’t consider this work, this is fun. Yes, I’m tired at the end of the day, but I’m spiritually uplifted!”
Today is our last day in the village. The day is busy but spirts are high. It takes many people to deliver care and service to the 2,137 patients seen over the last four days. Starting with local civic leaders who help identify the patients before the Faith In Practice team arrives. Plus on site are the Red Hats, local volunteers who help assist with set up and logistics. In total, the team is 100 members strong.
Every team member has their reason and story for being here. Many have volunteered with Faith In Practice for years. Their dedication and sacrifice is inspirational.
Maria from Momocenango, a Red Hat and mother of five, stepped in to fill her husbands role after he had a fatal. Graciela, another Red Hat, worked the entire day before asking Dr. Hilary to look at the stitches from a appendectomy she had the previous week. Upon inspection, Dr. Hilary became very concerned. The wound was infected and leaking large amounts of fluids. Dr. Hilary and Dr. Andrea immediately teamed up together to open, clean, and reseal the wound. Here in the clinic, medical providers work together to address the wide variety of challenges that walk through the clinic doors, often needing to take on tasks unusual for their normal daily routines.
Dr Hilary has volunteered with Faith In Practice for nine years. She is also one of the largest fund raisers and recruiters of new talent for future village missions. “I’ve been given so much, a top education and 30 years of experience. At some point you have to give back”. She actively recruits family and work associates so they can share the experience together. “Brighting someone else’s day, brightens your soul.”
Here are a few other responses from the Thompson Village Team on why they Volunteer with Faith In Practice:
“Because I find this deeply meaningful. Here we do something so simple yet we receive such gratitude and humility. It’s soul satisfying”. Liz / Lab
“It’s my favorite week of the year. I feel like I’m doing what a doctor is supposed to do.” Janice / General Med
“I can not not do this. These people give you their hearts. They treat you like family.” Katherine / Triage
“It’s a worthy cause and a well run organization. It tires me but I enjoy it.” Scott / General Med
“The need (here) is great. I’m getting so much more than I can give, and we can all learn from that.” Carol / General Med
“It’s nice to care for people that are so grateful and clearly there is a lot of need.” Stephanie / General Med
“It’s so cool to have the opportunity to be where the need is so great. And even though we can only make a small difference here, if we can make a difference in one persons life, it’s humbling to be able to do that.” Karen / Wheelchair
“Service to those who have less. I was lucky enough to be born in a country to parents who provided and supported me and my ambitions.” Andrea / Gynecology