“There is nothing stronger than the heart of a volunteer. With it beats the spirit of service, generosity and compassion…and the health and well-being of our community, our country and our world.” KOBI YAMADA
I have reached a point in my life, where I want to make a difference. Some reach that point at a young age, and others, like myself, are late bloomers. On January 9th, 2009, I met a nurse and soon realized this was not a coincidence.
Barbara was my nurse during a scheduled procedure, and the moment she smiled, I felt the connection. She placed her warm hand on my arm and said, “I was in Belize last June volunteering at a clinic. I met an amazing Belizean nurse. She was a combination of Mother Theresa and Indiana Jones.” (this is a photo of nurse Judith Krieg above in her small clinic in Belize.)
Barbara and I had never met, and yet she brought up Belize, the country that changed my defiant teenager and showed my boys gratitude instead of entitlement. The country that gave us the joy of little Sergio, a four-year-old Belizean boy, whom my three sons “adopted” as their little brother and taught how to speak English and read simple words.
Only three weeks after I met Barbara, she introduced me to Carol Mikan, RN and her husband Rich, who set up a small family foundation called the World Hospital Project. When I saw photos of some of the children they helped last year, kids who otherwise wouldn’t get treated due to a lack of supplies and finances, I realized I wanted to make a difference.
This boy has a clubfoot.
Nurse Judy trained at Saddleback College in Orange County, California, and moved back to Belize where she built a home with a free clinic attached and called it “Equity House Clinic.” She, ALONE, provides medical care for 17,000 local people, and her goal is to see each one of the 8,000 kids in her area. Last year, Carol and her team treated 400 kids during their visit, based on the medical supplies and medicine they could bring.
This year we have a “wish list” for the children in Hopkins Village, a small village that Duke and I visited in 2003, when we researched where we’d like to move to in Belize.
“We’d like to bring combs, flip-flops, socks, nail clippers, small mirrors, small bags to put everything in, tubes or foil packets of Neosporin and band aids,” Carol said. “The kids use the same pair of socks daily, and their feet often get infected.”
These are ankle sores from worms
Simple things, we take for granted, can make a HUGE change in a child’s life. Carol told me about the deaf 10-year-old boy. His parents said he was born that way, and after looking into his ear, Carol’s team removed a build up of ear wax. For the first time, he was able to hear.
I don’t usually ask for help, but this time I’m going to. There are so many simple things that can change a child’s life.
As Carol says, “ANY amount is gratefully appreciated.” Just giving up one Starbucks coffee drink a week, or skipping one pizza over the entire summer and donating to World Hospital Project, makes a huge difference. All donations go 100% toward World Hospital Project’s commitment to improving medical care in Belize. All volunteers pay their own expenses and promotion, mailing and other miscellaneous expenses, come out of the Mikan’s own pocket.
I shall be volunteering for ten days in October 2009, giving back to the children in Belize Thank you for helping the kids.