I have a dream. My dream is to make a positive difference in someone’s life and that the act will be remembered.That’s hard to do when you are a person who is perfectly happy to be in the background. I won’t be front and center. I’m not an adrenaline junky. If life was a movie set, I would be the lighting person. Equally important role, but who sticks around reading the credits for the lighting persons name? If you see me, I will be in the back, quietly helping and working. I will work even harder to stay out of the spotlight.So, how will I make a positive difference to one person in the background?I am in Malawi, when another support member of the group is questioning her role. Why am I here? What am I doing to make a difference? She looks around and looks at the medical staff like they are more valued. This hits me hard as I often feel the same way and I am medical. I want to offer words of comfort, but I know those words will not help. It is the same words spoken to me and I still have those insecurities and self doubt. As the days pass this is still weighing on me. She has value, every step of this is dependent on her role. She plans and organizes. Without that we wouldn’t be here to do the part we do. I also know those words won’t help as I have heard them and I know it to be true but the self doubt remains.I am in Kalupe, working the pharmacy. It is the end of the last day of clinic. It is busy and I am only vaguely aware of my surrounding. I glance up and a Malawian women is eyeing me, she strides with purpose and her eyes never drop from my glance. She approached with haste and begins speaking her native Chichewa. She speaks fast and with passion. I cannot understand. I immediately think, I forgot to give her something, she feels she was not treated appropriately, what did I miss? I call for my Malawian interpreter Lucy.“Lucy! I need you to tell me what she is saying.”Conversation begins in Chichewa and once again I am lost from the conversation.Lucy turns to me and says…“She wants you to know that she remembers you from last year. She came in with severe malaria. Because of you and the other American’s she received medications. She says thank you. She says you saved her life and wants you to know she is fine.”Tears form quickly and we embrace each other.It takes a village to care for a village. It takes people with different talents and passions, who can work together to achieve a common goal.In the background, I was remembered. Life goal achieved thanks to God, this team, and VIP.Thank you to everyone on this team for your talent, support, and friendship. We are now family.
“Alone we can do so little; Together we can do so much” – Helen Keller
Written by Shawna Whitford