By Jo Sullivan, Executive Director of Project C.U.R.E. Houston
During a recent trip to Ethiopia with Project C.U.R.E., I was able to witness firsthand the wonder and magic that the world has to offer. Our mission was to visit hospitals and clinics in economically and resource-challenged areas to assess their needs and meet with healthcare leaders and community members. The Jara & Jiru Foundation extended an invitation for us to participate in their efforts to enhance the community from which their family originated. During our visit, Sadyia Jiru, our gracious host, along with a team of dedicated volunteers from the foundation, revealed to us a glimpse of the potential and promise that we could contribute to.
As expected, I saw poverty and a lack of basic infrastructure, which is why we were there in the first place – to help make a change. However, what impacted me the most were the faces and situations I encountered. Although we’ve all seen images of under-resourced communities on TV, meeting people who had so little and yet gave so much was truly humbling. They shared a collective humanity in caring for one another and their villages, and there was a symbiotic beauty between the people, their animals, the land, and the community that took my breath away.
While we were there, I couldn’t help but think that we could do better. The communities we visited needed very basic equipment and supplies such as hospital beds, blood pressure cuffs, instruments for sterilization, and essential lab equipment. I saw a postnatal ward with seven very sick infants who were sharing three beds with their mothers because there were no cribs or cradles. In another clinic, family members had to bring food and bedding for their loved ones. These were simple things that we could provide to make a significant impact on the quality of care these people received.
This experience gave me a renewed sense of purpose and reinforced my desire to work in this field. I realized that no matter how big the problem, I am in the right place to help us do better. Every meaningful thing that happens to us in life can either impact how we show up or push us away, but I choose to let this experience inspire me to do more and be better.