Saturday, August 23, 2014

Why GlobeMed?

Anyone who knew me well at CC also knew the phrase, “I have GlobeMed”. It was the reason dinners were missed, a winterfest was skipped, and many Tony’s drinks were never imbibed. It is also the reason I have spent the past two weeks in Kenya as an additional member of Colorado College’s GROW team. Looking back on the past two and a half years, especially from here in Kenya, I can safely say that the value of the things I missed pales in comparison to those that I have gained. Even armed with this knowledge, I still find myself searching for the words to explain why I know this to be true. So here’s my best attempt:

Working as an Overland leader this summer, I was struck by the words of E.B. White in our quote book: “If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If the world were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Living in Mumias and learning from the experiences of the other GROW interns, I have gained a new appreciation for the answer GlobeMed provides to that choice. Simply put, you don’t have to choose. We arise each day with the opportunity to enjoy and to improve our world. Or at least to attempt to. No one embodies this idea more perfectly that WOPLAH’s director, Edwin Wetoyi.

Lovingly known to the GROW team as Edubaba (‘Papa Edwin’ in Kiswahili), Edwin’s dedication, love, and pure enthusiasm for his work shines through in every aspect of his daily regimen. In our final family dinner with him (candlelit due to a power outage), his love for his work came through in every word. Within fifteen minutes we had each reached for our journals to take notes. In articulating the way he feels about all that WOPLAH does he said, “ It [the work] is not a burden, it’s a privilege to the AOH.” And Edwin is not just a man of words. He is full of action. Edwin dances into support group meetings. He adds unexpected jokes in Swahili while translating, none of which we understand. He continues to work on a salary of less than a $1000 a year, while people of comparable training make more than that in a month. And he does all of this for the sake of his community.

Edwin, Being Edwin
As fans of hypotheticals, we asked Edwin if he thought the world would be a better or worse place in 100 years. His answer was simple, “If people help others, better. If not, worse.” To me, it seems that Edwin has been embodying the GlobeMed mantras before the word ‘GlobeMed’ even existed. Among many other reasons, he is my why. He is the reason that those of us involved in GlobeMed keep moving, keep showing up, and keep dreaming. Yes, we miss moments for this work, but I would argue that we gain a lifetime of understanding in return.

-Sarah Freeman '14, Sociology Major

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