Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dear Mongu

Dear Mongu,

           What can I say about these last six weeks? I will never forget them.

            I am writing this to thank you. Thank you for welcoming us with open arms and warm smiles. Thank you for your sunsets, your flood plains, and your lightning storms. The rawness of your beauty and the wholeness of your people are my favourite parts about you. I feel like I was just getting to know you and now I have to leave! Maybe I'll see you again one day...after all, I have yet to try your cashews.

             Thank you for allowing us into your hospital and trying our best to help even when our language and culture of care is so different. Your nurses and doctors were so ready to work with us; to help make us better and accept help where we were able. I will never forget the generosity they bestowed upon me - whether it was with kindness, knowledge, or time. 

           I appreciate the hardships you experience are every day realities for you and only short clips in our life stories for us. That isn't lost on me. Your rawness wasn't always welcome for me though...I struggled to see my patients endure things that probably wouldn't exist back home. I got angry at the injustice of it all. Why is it that just because I was born in Canada I have all these advantages that propel me forward in life? Advantages I didn't earn by working hard or being a good person. And then the hard part was moving forward and accepting the way things are. Should this be something that we accept? Maybe that's the only way to progress; not looking back and questioning, but looking forward and helping. I hope I was able to achieve this even in the smallest way.

         Thank you also for showing me the wholeness of your people - people who have such great senses of humour, kindness, and openness. It was amazing to see people so whole when their lives seem, to me, so difficult. This life has brought them together, not apart, and that is a great lesson to witness. And although I'm pretty sure they were laughing AT me most of the time, I loved spending time with them.

          It goes without saying I have learned so much from my time with you. I will be forever indebted to you for allowing this experience for me. To your people, I will never forget you!

Sincerely yours,
Johanna


2 comments:

  1. Dear UBCO Zambia Nursing Team, One and All,

    I have finally had the chance to catch up with all of your postings over the last few weeks and feel like I have just ingested a rich, life enhancing banquet of stories, experiences and unforgettable memories for each of you.

    I could not possibly do justice to each of your stories, but I am utterly convinced that they all stick with anyone who reads them, one way or another, for a host of reasons. And I can see that Zambia and its people and land have become firmly lodged into your hearts, and who you are as nurses, in so many ways.

    When you come home, I look forward to hearing more, and asking you what you would tell your fellow students who are thinking about requesting the privilege to go on this kind of Global Health practicum. What would you tell them now that you could not have imagined before you went? What has it changed in you, and for you, as you move ahead into the nursing profession? What part of Zambia has become a part of you?

    Wishing you all safe travels home, and many more rich nursing journeys in the years ahead for each of you,

    Tricia Marck

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  2. Thanks Johanna! I love this post and so glad you go this experience! Congratulations on graduating. Linda Drew

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