A Way to Find Dream, Brighter than a Diamond
Grateful eyes of local people, wrinkled hands looking like old man’s hands, the beady eyed children with curiosity about the surrounding life, the sense of kinship with people who live in the same planet at the same time and their hopes are what led JBNU Africa Medical Volunteer team to visit African countries this year again. It was 5th visit accomplished since 2015 and this time it was managed by eight professors JBNU including six professors of the Medical School and accompanied by 10 more students of the Jeonbuk Medical School. Moreover, it’s a necessary feature for medical volunteers to have empathy and see the environment through local people’s perspectives. Also, it’s significant to have a will to work but what is more essential while serving in foreign countries is good health.
The volunteer team visited Kenya, where the villages on the bare fields were identical to those in UNICEF commercials. It’s a pity how they are fighting the hot sunlight without any fans or air conditioners during the day, and enduring darkness and cold without any lamp and blankets during the cold nights. It helps us to understand that we are living a sufficient life that we should be thankful for. During the medical volunteering in Kenya from 24th of July until 4th of August in 2019, the team had medical volunteering works and education, detection of health status, treatments of patient with surgery needs, female religion education, games and outdoor camping experiences, tour in safari and other activities. For the details, the JBNU Globe interviewed the student leader of the team Lee Geon-jong, a junior student at the Medical School. He explained his motivations to apply to this volunteering as following: “I wanted to learn and practice the medical services that I’ve learned only on the pages of books or on the lectures in real life and during the real medicine field practices. I also applied to find out for myself what kind of doctor I want to become through seeing how my seniors, doctors and professors treat patients”. In addition, we asked about special episodes occurred during the volunteer. The leader mentioned innocence and kindness of people as the most inspiring thing. “Every second was really inspiring. People we met waved toward us with a big, warm smile. It was the biggest reason why we could volunteer without getting tired. When professors met patients, even without masks, it made me reflect myself, since I was in a fear of meeting patients even if I used mask all the time. When I shook hands with a few patients, then I could reach my hands first and sympathize with them. I could break my own wall meeting new people and go on a step toward them.” He also said “It was a bit difficult because I sprained my ankle while playing soccer, and I was really sorry for my teammates. It was all my teammates who helped me accomplish my work as a leader.” According to his reply, volunteering abroad was a great experience for him to learn and earn so many things. He got so many fantastic peers and time to think about his life. “Maybe this volunteer work is not for them, but for us. We get to take a look how dedicated our professors work for patients, and it made us think deeply about what kind of doctor I want to be and what an idealistic doctor is. I also made so many good friends, who helped work out as a leader. They asked me what to do before I asked for help. I really felt thankful for them, and it served as the impetus for my life.” As we could see from his reply, volunteering abroad meant so many things for the members, and he also said that he wants his next generation and future doctors to also have this precious and valuable experience. Maybe a lot of students want to go abroad for volunteering but have unspecialized fear about it. For them, here is a message from the leader. “I also had a lot of concern about going to Africa before leaving, but I feel thankful about the moment I wrote the application. When time goes on, you should feel that new people you met abroad all could be your friends. You surely would get touched to them and realize that you gain more, whatever it is, than what you give. You can’t find a diamond, but you can definitely earn your dream, brighter than a “DIAMOND”.