Philippines 2017: Reflections from Team Member Daniel Baird

by Daniel Baird

 

To begin with, the opportunity to participate in something “Larger than myself” has always inspired and driven me. M2H embodies that “Larger than Self” altruism.

Being able to provide surgical care to people who are in desperate need is the most fulfilling experience of my professional career. The patients that we treated were some of the most grateful, inspiring, and thoughtful people I have ever encountered.

We were able to provide surgical care in Marinduque, an island that was devastated by a typhoon during the months preceding our visit. In fact, the power on the island had only been restored the week we arrived!

I believe that we collectively learned many things during this incredible time, but the most  we learned was about change! The M2H mission changes you by involving you in something “Larger than Self”, introducing you to other people, lands, cultures, foods, traditions, and even other methods for providing medical care! One cannot help but be changed by all of these things!

The best way to get the most out of an M2H experience is to go into it with a completely open mind, no pre-conceived notions, a selfless heart, a willingness to learn, adapt, and improvise, and apply newly learned technique to provide care for those most in need.

An often-overlooked aspect of M2H missions is the opportunity to work with some of the finest surgery experts in the world, and learn from others that have varying levels of experience.

The M2H missions also give the volunteer an opportunity to teach and train local medical personnel and lay persons how to provide medical and surgical care to their own people and within their own community.  You truly leave one of these missions already planning the next one! M2H creates world medical citizens; those people who yearn to become something Larger than Self, and to share this experience with those in critical need!

The idea behind M2H, is to provide critically needed surgical care, train locals to provide high quality care, and to leave the community with a newly discovered medical capability; that of providing critically important surgical care for its citizens!

The absolute constant during these experiences is change! Learn to embrace it, and your life will be enriched by it.

In addition to all of the other incredible things you gain from your M2H experience, perhaps the most important is the lifelong friendships that can only be forged in the fires of austerity, shared experiences, and altruism!