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Firstly, I would like to apologize for my absence from this blog. It has been months since the last post. I’m sorry.
Picture this: Monrovia, Liberia, it’s 1996 and my 5-year-old self is frantic and sad trying to understand why we had to leave our home and relocate. Stranger are flooding into our home with packed bags and broken hearts. Mommy and daddy are deciding whether to stay or flee. What was most important to bring along but also having to remember to pack light. My younger brother, Sam, is 2 years or younger.
I can still remember the frightening sounds of bullets as they flew back and forth and back and forth; We had to move on foot. We traveled for miles in amongst a large crowd not knowing if we were walking in the direction of the bullets or not. Daddy and my elder brother took turns holding me up as I got tired, while Sam was tied to my mother’s back.
Where were we going?
How do we know it’s safe?
WHY ARE THEY SHOOTING?!
If you know anything at all about Liberia then you might know of the 15 years of civil war. If you have never experienced war, GOOD! It is hands-down the most tragic and gruesome thing I have ever experience in my life and I can still remember so much of what I saw, even at that young age.
Let me be clear, the point of this post isn’t to take make you feel sad or sorry for me; I want you to understand why it is I do what I do. From the time we relocated to the United States in 2001, it has always been my desire to give back and to help my people… but how?!
As I entered medical school I struggled to stick to a specialty. What should my focus be? Pediatrics? I love children; Obstetrics and Gynecology? I’m all about women’s health. Then it happened….. EBOLA! Reading about it and watching the coverage of this crisis took me back to 1996. All of the chaos, the state of the country was no different. People were distraught. Africa was not prepared and it left me feeling helpless, again.
What good is a medical degree if I am unable to change the state of healthcare in my country and across the continent. I’ve sat back helplessly as I watched my people die too many times, No More! This led me to focus on Med/ped for residency and later a fellowship in Infectious Diseases. With this focus I know I will be well equipped for the majority of the healthcare issue Liberians are facing. My goal is to establish a better health care system and education, first in Liberia, then the rest of the continent.
Many times people ask me; “Are you sure you can live in Africa?”, “Are you sure you want to go back?”
YES! A hundred times YES!
It’s who I am and because of my experiences, I am a better person today.
What saddens me is the innumerable health care professionals from different parts of Africa residing here in the United States and in other developed countries, who have done very well for themselves, but refuses to go home and give back. Our people are suffering. There is so much in us that we can give and will cost us nothing. How can we continue to sit back and watch our people die while we wait on others for help!? We are more than capable!
It’s time we band together and stand up for Africa! Let’s not wait for another tragedy like Ebola to take place, it’s time we reboot and rebuilt our healthcare system!
IM COMING HOME... soon