Why I Do What I Do
Many of you have been following the story of Denis. (Follow here)
Denis is a little boy in Uganda who has had major surgery to straighten his legs. So many times kids like Denis are statistics-another client, another surgery, another life. Denis for me has become personal-he is a little boy that had to go to the hospital, undergo procedures that scared him, experience pain, and be brave enough to work through the pain to learn to walk again.
I often get asked why I do what I do. I travel a great deal. I have board meetings, budgets, letters to write, emails to answer, strategies to work out. This is important work, usually busy and at certain times of the year, quite stressful. Why do I do it?
The answer is simple and personal-Denis.
Read Denis’ story again and see how hard he and his family have had to work, the stress they have been under, the new challenges they had to face head on. Denis had to trust these strange people that his legs could be fixed. The trip to the hospital took him, his sister and brother, three different modes of public transportation and many hours. Denis’ 9 year old cousin, had to stay behind to take care of the rest of the family for 7 days while Denis and his sister went to the hospital. Denis needed care from his sister in the hospital on a daily basis.
And then there is the work Denis has to do. The very day of the surgery, right after, he had to begin his therapy. Literally walking through tears, he took his first steps. Exercises every day to get his legs strong and useful. The work continues without stop.
What surprises me so often in visiting our clients is how hard they work. Working in the garden, going to collect potable water, cooking food over a fire, are one thing. Taking care of children who need special care and exercises, finding ways to bring them to therapy and medical appointments and care for all the other children, are another. I watch faces like Denis’ and see the effort to strive to take one more step than yesterday, one more centimeter of movement than last week, one more word that can be understood than the last time. This is fundamentally hard work by all.
So, when I get tired and yet am not finished my day-I think of Denis. Yes, it is personal.