"health, which is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, is a fundamental human right"
Thursday, June 08, 2006
Seeing true poverty for the first time leaves you questioning how you can go on day to day without acknowledging that much of the world lives without their most basic needs being met. An uncomfortable guilt settles upon you when confronted with people living without food, without shelter, without clean water, or without basic medical care. Once transformed by this experience, it is impossible to return to your previous state of counsciousness. Observing those struggling to survive on a daily basis challenges your basic thinking about life. It is enlightening to view happiness that thrives in the absence of financial wealth, fostered by a strong sense of community and family, simplicity and humility. The give and take of anger and enlightenment is a major struggle encountered upon traveling out of your comfort zone. This struggle forces you to reconsider your prior way of life, motivates you to learn about new and different ways of life, and drives you to find ways to combat the injustices of hunger, disease, and poverty.
The picture above was taken during our trip to the Philipines in 2001. The child in the picture is running through the Payatas community, an urban slum built upon a landfill, where the major source of income is the sale of scavenged scrap from the rubbage. This picture embodies the struggle between the anger felt seeing children living in this impoverished setting, and the enlightenment seen in the happiness of the child flying a kite made of a trash bag, that perseveres despite these conditions.
Our goal during this upcoming year is to observe, learn, and experience this struggle on a daily basis and to find a way to encorporate work with these communities into our future medical careers.
We hope to utilize this website to post travel updates, photos, and our thoughts as we travel throughout the year. We will update it as often as we have internet access, so check back soon. Please feel free to post comments, but remember that family, friends, and faculty will be viewing this site.