This is a little reminder about how those little actions all come together, and they all count.
So often we go about our daily lives forgetting that what we do counts – even those little things which seem small or insignificant at the time.
In late November 2010 I followed my dream which took me to Kenya where I was to spend the next three months leading a team of volunteers on various projects. I had been there less than two weeks when we attended a local medical camp being run for the day in a small village. The camp had local Kenyan Doctors and Australian volunteer nurses providing medical attention and support to people who would otherwise go without. The camp was financially supported by fundraising done in Australia and supported more than 200 people (from small babies to grandparents) in seeing a doctor.
The medical camp opened my eyes and had such a profound impact on my team we, lead by a few individuals, decided to raise funds to run another camp. The support and backing we received was astounding and we went on to run not one, but 5, camps in various villages.
It was at our fourth camp that a young woman attended who had a fistula. Obstetric Fistula occurs as a result of prolonged, obstructed and unassisted labour which can last for five days or more. The continuous pressure of the baby’s head inside the mother causes a loss of circulation to part of the bladder tissue and sometimes the rectal wall. The tissue dies and drops out, leaving a hole. As a result the mother is left incontinent of urine and in 20% of cases incontinent of bowel contents as well. Due to the objectionable smell associated with the condition these women are mostly rejected by their husbands and families. They become social outcasts and have a deep sense of rejection and shame. (To learn more about Fistula’s this is a good link http://www.hamlinfistula.org.au/obstetricfistula/fastfacts.html.) Together we chose to pay for her to have the operation which is life changing and inexpensive. Each life is worth so much!
In an amazing turn of events following her operation, word began to spread within the local community and other women who had previously been suffering in silence began to come forward at the local clinic – the clinic where the doctors from our medical camps were working. These doctors then supported these women in travelling to the city for the operation. The Health Minister then heard of this need and they secured funding through aid support, and now two days a week this operation is offered free of charge at the hospital for these women in need.
I am so proud to be a part of this. It amazes me how much each action we take has an impact. Had the volunteers before us not run a camp it is unlikely we would have run one camp, let alone five. Had people from Australia not made donations (as little as $2) we would not have raised enough to run so many camps. We would have never been in that village without the camp and we would have never been in Kenya had it not been for the vision and passion of one man – Robert Hoey – who established World Youth International (the volunteer organisation I went with) and the dedicated people that followed his work.
I wonder now where the ripple began? And where the ripple will end?
Each action is more powerful than you could possibly imagine and you do not know who you will effect.
Another thought I had was. Travelling to Kenya was my dream. By following my dream and being true to me I was able to help more people. It is important for you to live your dream and to follow your heart – you never know how many people this will inspire or support.