There have been many times that I question: Why did I even bother coming? People don’t get better and death is inevitable. I am trying to remember that without us, this would all be happening and probably with less compassion and attention. The life expectancy of Zambian people is far from changing, but what is important is that during their short lives, illness, and final hours, they experience compassion, love, sympathy, and respect. I think for some it will be the first time in their lives. I know our presence is invaluable to them. We never actually know how meaningful our actions are, perhaps the families saw how much we cared and were so touched that they better dealt with grief, or maybe we have inspired someone here to be a more compassionate nurse. So I am going to embrace the joy, embrace the sadness, let myself feel everything and let myself be human.
Knowing it’s okay to be weak, it’s okay to feel helpless, and it’s okay to feel sorrow. These things make me stronger and wiser and enhance all the things I am now. These experiences will not make experiences down the road trivial; they will just remind me that regardless of what I am going through, I will survive.
This experience has given me a life-check to truly remember what is important. Not the material things, but how lucky we are to be born in Canada and not in grueling poverty. We have premium healthcare even when we think we don’t. We have the opportunity to be anything we want. We don’t have to fight for our lives everyday and we have everything we need at our fingertips.
I am learning many lessons that I will never forget. This experience has been invaluable and I am so thankful for every single moment of it.