As a surgical resident in a tertiary care center, I have seen a lot of patients in consultation for surgical evaluation. A typical consultation request includes age, gender and diagnosis of the patient. When I decided to pursue surgical training, I specifically acknowledged that I would forego much of the diagnostic process as typical referrals come to us diagnosis already known.
I guess you might say that everything is unexpected for me on this trip. This is my first time on the continent of Africa and so many things have been a surprise. For example, here in Kenya, almost everyone speaks English and there are zebras by the side of the road grazing on grass just like there are horses in the US.
Hope Through Healing Hands was delighted to be the title sponsor for the inaugural Why Christian? conference led by Rachel Held Evans and Nadia Bolz-Weber. This was a gathering of storytellers who talked about why they continue to follow Jesus “with all the atrocities past and present committed in God’s name, amidst all the hostile divisions ripping apart Christ’s church, in spite of all our own doubts and frustrations and fears about faith.”
On November 9, 2015, in Nashville, TN, Belmont University students gathered to hear panelists discuss several issues surrounding the importance of healthy timing and spacing of pregnancies for mothers worldwide. Additionally, the call to action of advocacy was proposed for the students to get involved in the mission of The Mother and Child Project.
This month at AIC Kijabe Hospital in Kenya boils down to a joyous encounter with a medical center in the developing world where patients find reliable access to quality surgical services. Here, to a large degree, patients are spared the immense burden of death and misery associated with the myriad of conditions that can be cured or palliated by surgical procedures. Every short-term visitor will view Kijabe through the lens of prior experiences, and I reflect back to 10 months spent in Haiti as a medical student, where preventable deaths were a daily routine. I have seen here in Kijabe a model for expanding access to surgery with tremendous effect for patients and their families.
Let’s begin with a hard truth: unplanned pregnancy is for many a matter of life and death. Every two minutes a woman dies due to pregnancy-related complications — a grim transformation of what should be one of the happiest times into one of the most dangerous.
It’s been an eventful year for Cuba since we last visited. The United States policy changes announced on Dec 17, 2014—the result of 18 months of negotiations—signified a new era for Cuba. On July 20 this year, the United States reopened its embassy in Havana which has been closed since 1961.
During the Why Christian? Conference in Minneapolis, MN many people were asked to record a short “audio selfie” that answers the following question: When you think of a moment of doubt or struggle, what person or experience has prompted you to ask deeper questions about your faith? How do these questions sustain you in your journey?
I am so excited to be here at “Why Christian” to debate and discuss and dialogue why we are Christians and the corollary questions: What does it mean to be a Christian? What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus? As Rachel noted, “It is complicated.”