When I decided to join the medical mission trip to the Amazon, everyone in my company asked me the same question, “If you’re not a doctor, how will you help?” As a good marketer, I always gave a generic answer that would satisfy their curiosity, although deep down I didn’t know the exact answer. To make it even more interesting, I received, in advance, a manual with guidelines as complete and accurate as what NASA probably publishes for astronauts to prepare for space travel. I didn’t know exactly what I would be doing, but I knew what to take, how to behave, what to worry about, etc. All this could discourage some, but in my case, it had the opposite effect: I couldn’t wait to get there …
Our original group consisted of 14 volunteers who quickly grew to about 30, including the support staff. At the first meeting I identified an
“opportunity” (nothing like marketing jargon!). Thenursing team – responsible for screening, referral and follow up – was led by nurse Rosi, a demanding professional, in super high spirits, with a “total focus on results” (more marketing jargon). Immediately I set out to work on her team and on the second day was already able to perform all the basic tasks. And best of all, I learned all the tactics of how to joke around with the medical staff. For those who are unaware, doctors and nurses work about as well together as Brazil andArgentina do in soccer games – the doctors obviously being the Argentineans (lol).
The 10 day mission trip flew by. And who do you think benefited the most from the experience? The five riverside communities we assisted? The more than 200 patients who had access to medical and dental care? Amazon Lifesavers Ministry that organized the mission? Not at all! The most benefited was myself. I realized how blessed we are and how little we need to be really happy, and yet we insist on going through life complaining about the traffic, the boss, the supermarket lines, etc…
You might be wondering: What about the mosquitoes? And living on a boat? And sleeping in a hammock? And bathing in the river? And the risk of disease? None of this is easy, especially considering our comfortable lives in the big cities, but I can assure you that the end result is VERY positive.
Are you willing to combine adventure and solidarity? Be the next volunteer in the Amazon!