Finding Healing in Mongolia (Kerry Pride)

by Kerry Pride

My life took an abrupt turn two year years ago when my husband was killed in an accident. This traumatic event shook me to my core and made me angry with the world and everything in it. I had met Dr. G years ago through my husband’s best friend and he reached out when I was at one of my lowest points. I remember him telling me that getting out to help people who sometimes have nothing but hope to their name can be very healing. He calls it “Gifts from the Poor.” After a while, I realized I had a choice to make… let this make a bitter, resentful, hateful person or I could dig deep and try to be a better, more caring, and understanding person. So, I signed up for the Mongolian Mission.

Since I am a veterinarian, I asked Dr. G about the possibility of providing veterinary care on this mission. He was all for it, so I packed a bag of basic veterinary supplies. Since this was the first time a veterinarian was on one of the missions, I really had no idea what to expect. During our two weeks in Mongolia, I was fortunate to be able to provide some basic veterinary care for horses, cattle, dogs, cats, and goats. Being a veterinarian and horse owner, I was excited about the opportunity to treat Mongolian ponies. I gained a whole new respect for the hardiness of these animals and the people who own them. The Mongolian Pony is a truly unique and amazing animal. I found it so rewarding to be able to provide needed veterinary care and the Mongolian people’s hospitality and generosity are second to none.

Since the mission’s focus is to provide surgical and medical care, I had the opportunity to also be involved on the human health side. This mission had less surgical patients than other missions, but impacts were made to improve the health of Mongolians. We saw many patients with chronic disease and the physicians provided the needed primary care. Because of the patient population, I saw a big need for public health interventions in Mongolia. A huge opportunity exists for health education and prevention activities.

I really appreciated the teaching and training that occurred every day, whether in the clinics, surgical suite, or in the evenings in our train car. Dr. G challenged each and every one of us to learn from and teach one another. I also can’t say enough about the amazing, dedicated, and caring people I met! Each person on the mission is truly incredible and I hope to work with them again on future missions.

We as human beings need to get outside our comfort zone and experience the world and challenges people face. In the developed world, we sometimes focus on “keeping up with the Joneses” and forget what challenges most of the world faces. The mission was so healing for me and I can’t wait to participate in more. Though all life has thrown at me, I have learned that we always have a choice about how we will let life’s events shape the person we become. I challenge everyone who reads this to get outside your comfort zone and do something to help improve someone else’s life. You won’t regret it.