The clouds hung lifelessly in the hot, dusty African air. Like dirty medical gauze wrapped around an open sore, they did nothing but worsen the heat, the infection. The abandoned government hospital of Bangui, Central African Republic, at which our team set up a makeshift clinic and surgical center, embodied the plight of its people. There it stood; the hospital had been reduced to a carcass picked dry by the scavengers of the sub-sahara: corruption and development, Western impositions and misunderstandings, deconstruction of language and culture. We saw over 600 patients in fourteen days.
Since my Junior year of high school, my father – an OB/GYN – and I have traveled and volunteered together twice a year in Mali and the CAR. (A long way from my hometown of Columbus, OH!) After double majoring in Chemistry and English in undergrad, I realized two things: 1) that school was actually supposed to be enjoyable and not feel like my Analytical Chemistry teacher was the Grim Reaper and 2) that what attracted me to the medical field was not the practice of clinical medicine, but the nurturing relationship between doctor and patient and the provision of a better quality of life we were able to make possible not only by just our presence (which gave many people hope for medical care and relief from pain) but also by empowering others through better health. Like almost everyone, I found Public Health by accident – one I would relive again and again!
I am very excited to be in SORT and I hope to get to know everyone better as the year progresses!