I was honored to serve as a bilingual public health educator and triage nurse in latin America on the USNS Comfort in 2007 AND 2008. I visited seven countries and provided care to thousand of people. The compassioin and kindness I witnessed but moreover was given in doing this important work was life changing. I remember a young man who had suffered a severe brain injury in a motor vehicle accident being brought to our clinic in Guatemala . he had already gone through rehabilitation in Guatemela City but his parent had driven seven hours to see us oping we could give them information on how to further help him. We worked for hours tring to make contacts. We all were so moved by his parents hope in us. Eventually we did make contacts that woud eventually provide him some further treatment back in the capital. I family walked two days from their mountain village to see us about a speciic issue. We did provide care and as they started to leave for the two day walk back to their home the mother turned to me and gave me a big hug.. She said thank ou God bless you in Spanish and it was so heartfelt i cried when she left. The mothers and childen, all who came to us demonstrated such courage and such strength. I was honored to be there. It is difficult to describe what it is like to ride into a medical site whee 600 people are waiting for the medical team and as our bus arrives the entire crown breaks into cheering because we have come to help them. Little do they know how mch they give to us. It is about great hope and great faith that hearts and minds come together to share our humanity. That is what the PROJECT HOPE cause is all about.....our shared humanity.
I became a member of the Project HOPE's Board six years ago. While I am well aware of the thousands and thousands of lives saved and people whose well-being has improved, the meaning of HOPE came home to me when I met a ten year old boy --- full of energy with a smile on his face --- in the hallway of a hospital in Beijing This child would have died as an infant had not Project HOPE provided and continued to provide medicine to him each and every day. I take pride in being part of an organization where employees, volunteers and Board members are committed to putting smiles on the faces of children around the world.