I haven't blogged much yet because I keep forgetting that this trip is educational, not just a vacation abroad. I knew that I would end up blogging today - in fact, I tried to blog before we went out to Africa Tikkun about how I was ready to come in right with an open heart and an open mind.
Today we went and visited the Delft Community Health Center. We saw hundreds of people waiting for treatment. A sister who ran the whole center, who's name I forgot already sadly, talked to us before we got a tour. She said that they serve roughly two thousand people per day with roughly a hundred workers for the whole clinic. That was when I got emotional. I have been talking about going to medical school for almost five years. The past two months have been rough for me in my decision to go to medical school. This whole trip for me was about figuring out about who I am and what I want to do with my life. With every step I take in Africa, I feel myself coming together. From feeling powerful climbing a mountain with EducoAfrica, to visiting the Delft Community Health Center, to even just the simple fact that our classroom in South Africa is in the fucking medical school. I don't believe in God, but man is that a sign from above or what?
People travel for miles to get to the Delft Community Health Center just to get considered to been seen. That doesn't happen in the United States. Health care is so immediate that the idea of waiting is bothersome. The sister let us know that they just got a respirator for their "resuscitation room" or emergency room. Think about your breathing. Your lungs. We just learned about lived experience and taking mundane every day things for granted. Now that I've said something you're probably thinking about your breathing pattern.
As I was leaving I thought about how much I wanted to remember the Delft Community Health Center and the sister who lead us around. She was such a strong woman in the community in a role that almost demanded respect that I just couldn't help but want to be her. We were all hugging goodbye and as the sister and I hugged I was just so overcome with emotion I started crying. I let her know that I was going to medical school and that I would be thinking of her the whole way through. She and I hugged for a good minute crying to ourselves. When we said goodbye I said I would try to keep in touch via email and she kissed me on the cheek and said she was praying for me. We left the Delft Community Health Center and I couldn't help but think, wow, this woman has never talked to me, I've literally been in her presence for roughly fifteen minutes and who the hell am I to deserve her prayers?
I cannot believe that this trip has already given me what I need. Africa has given me hope for myself and my future.