Monday, March 10, 2008

Project HOPE Volunteers, Committed to Improving Health

Today is Sunday which is a day of rest except I have to again go to the internet café to do work. But that's ok because I like what I am doing.

While at the internet café I try to catch up on any mentions of Project HOPE in the news. I found our press release on a website with comments from readers underneath it. I believe everyone has a right to free speech and therefore can think and say what they want. These comments were all negative about the work we are doing in West Africa. One says that the U.S. "poaches and entices qualified doctors to the U.S." and the other says that charity does no good and we should stop insisting that it will. I guess since I know the team on the ground and have been with them when they work it stung a little to see those comments. I am not saying that what Project HOPE does is the solution that will bring all the relief to West Africa, but I know the volunteers and even the military folks out here—dentists, veterinariens and others—have their heart completely into what they are doing here. Every day they come back to the ERF tired but happy to have done a good job. In fact some of them hate having down time. They want to be helping people as much as they can. Everyone is here to help in any way possible.

Also Project HOPE isn't just coming in and not leaving something behind. While here we are teaching midwives—who do so much of the health care here—how to be better midwives so they can train other midwives so that the cycle of learning and training continues. The same goes for the nurse educators who are covering topics as complicated as diabetes to as uncomplicated as bite wounds. The primary care team is leaving behind lessons as well. They have been working all week with translators. These Translators aren't just there to help with the language they are also nursing students learning from what the primary care team is doing.

So this mission and others like it may not be the end-all of Africa's problems, but it is a start and why would you be so negative towards someone who trying to help one person at a time.

Help support the Project HOPE humanitarian assistance and health education mission in Africa.

--Marisol Euceda

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