“We, As Mission to Heal, Have to Do This”
Dr. Geelhoed was parked in front of the Dejenn Primary Hospital. Sitting in one of the two Mobile Surgical Units in Ethiopia, he reminisced on a previous mission from a few months back. Mission to Heal had arrived to an Emergency Hospital in an isolated region of Sudan where there was a shortage of medical practitioners and a large pent-up demand for care services. “There is nothing we can do for these people,” one of the nurses explained. Dr. Geelhoed agreed. There was nothing that could be done if he didn’t make an attempt to help.
In Ethiopia, Dr. Geelhoed was ready, able, and eager to teach the motivated. He thought of what that nurse said to him in Sudan, writing in his journal, “We, as Mission to Heal, do have to do this. As there are those who understand that it is the right thing to do and even put up with a great deal of contrived as well as natural resistance to be overcome because a few not only understand, but might even be inspired to carry on. The barriers to be bridged, and the very high bars to forward motion to be overcome are, even with the stretching of the limits, worth the effort.”
Mission to Heal performed a hydrocele inversion repair, a right inguinal hernia repair, thyroidectomy, and the removal of a multiply recurrent nape of neck lipoma and thyroglossal duct cyst in Ethiopia. He concluded his journal entry with this note:
“Mission to Heal has three target objectives:
1) Good care to the bottom billion inaccessibles,
2) Primary medical education for indigenization of care skills, and
3) Transformational learning by all participants.
“None of this was forecast to be ‘easy peasy, lemon squeezy.’ It is not for the easily intimidated or those who quit facing insurmountable odds. The MSUs are standing here, after all, in remote Highland Ethiopia, and not in a showroom or museum, and they have not been treated kindly and have some scars to prove it. So have we.
“The Right Thing to Do is not readily apparent to everyone in ready consensus. It can be lonely, as there are not a lot of like-minded people who have foregone some degree of self-interest in opportunism on either side. If convinced that it is the Right Thing to Do, then all that is required to continue each new day is that ‘Infinite Threshold for Frustration.’ I have continued to focus on the three objectives of M2H and it is reassuring that the few who are with us have been inspired.”