On any given week, we can spend time doing a variety of tasks, but none compare to the week spent on a service trip to Jamaica. A lot happens, and it flies by too quick, but the memories that speed by at the trigger of a song or a glimpse at a photo, bring a feeling that can’t be put into words. Nostalgia aside, I believe I’m a better student for it.
We never stop learning. The week begins with meeting of the crew members to a team who share the same goal of providing care to those without access to care. The team also shares the mindset to teach and to be taught. Getting to really know one another, past the level of sweet greetings, is one of the irreplaceable and invaluable benefits of this week. All different walks of life. I consider myself lucky to have landed here last year and have met some of the vets who have become my mentors, people who I look up to. In the other hand, I see some enthusiastic new faces who I hope either take part in this mission again next year or carry the love of this mission into their own outreach. Young or old, the beauty is that there is no ranking system here, we are all one and we all continue to learn from each other.
There is a magic and charm to this place. The magic is in the smiles, in the hope, in the honesty of a quote written on the wall of a classroom. Stepping away from our comfort zone of a clinic in Boston, and falling in the hills of Saint Ann, I found myself lost in the gratitude of patients getting up from my chair and saying “I’m glad you’re back. Thanks for taking away my pain.” Materializing everything that I have learned in school so far and putting it towards a good cause is what this week affords. Stepping away from the template case notes and “swipe-completes”, and asking different instructors how they would handle a certain case, is what this week teaches. Feeding a hungry heart, ready for learning and continuing to look for better ways to provide care. The magic of this place is in waking up the soul and helping us flourish.
I was never good at saying goodbyes. The Saturday before departure, marked the most challenging day of the trip, only because we knew what the next day would bring. Only light at the end of this tunnel was knowing that I would see some of the team members back in Boston and a few back in Jamaica next year. Until then…