Volunteering for a medical mission in Africa

For quite awhile I have always wanted to do volunteer nursing. Specifically for Operation Smile but their credentials are long and time consuming, as well as they are a very popular organization. Last year, I came across another organization and decided to give it a try and apply. A few months ago, I received an email stating that I was approved. At the beginning of July, I received another email stating that they have dates available for me. Jan 10-March 5. The email stated to take some time to think about it and reply by middle of July. I did not need to think about it. This is something that I wanted to do. I hit reply within the hour and said “YES!”

I cannot tell you how excited that I am to hear this. It will be for a two months and many people are not sure if they could do it. But I think I can because I have been a travel nurse in the USA for over 2 years. That, and I do not really have a place to call home anyways.

Are there things that I worry about? Sure but most of it has to do with financing this trip. Not only financing the flight to and from but vaccinations. And while I am serving, I will be paying room & board while there, nothing is run for free-afterall. I am certainly willing to do it but when you think of the numbers…2 months of room and board there, car payment/insurance here, vaccinations, spending money. Well it all adds up. Thankfully I do not foresee an issue getting a job when I return because I am a traveler, but there may a lapse in the time. So therefore, it is probably best if I, in my head, save for 5 months.

This is all very doable. If it’s not doable, I will make it doable. This is something that I want to do. Since I am very well aware of this possibility, I am far enough out in advance where I can plan. But regardless of how much planning you do-the worry is still there.

Then of course, you think about where you are going in this world. And you think about how much we have (or more times than not-WANT) compared to others in the world. You think how superficial it is of me to even think, of all things, money…a lot of people in the world do not have clean water, or a mattress and I’m thinking about money for paying my car and insurance.

No matter how stress I get and how worried that I get with money, everything works out in the long run and things end up panning out. Usually I look back and think ‘why was there a concern in the first place?’

I’ve been searching and researching even more from others who have done something similar. I notice their life before and after. How much you are changing the lives of others but that they are, moreso, changing yours. For that-it’s priceless and all the more worth it. Human life and perspective is worth it. Smiles are worth it. Being able to walk, run, jump-is all worth it.

So I am counting the months, weeks, days…where my life changes, again, forever.

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