Traveler’s Prayer

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I don’t believe in coincidence. I do believe in synchronicity. Less than 24 hours before I leave for a teaching trip to three cities in Japan, I open my book of daily inspirational reading Julia Cameron’s Transitions: Prayers and Declarations for a Changing Life to this passage:

“My Lifetime listens to yours”   Muriel Rukeyser

“The world is peopled by travelers each with a journey. As we make our way through our own obstacles, we are often oblivious to those who travel by our side. And yet when we open our hearts to the adventures and adversities of others, our own journey is illuminated. Those who travel beside me are my teachers and those I teach in turn.

Today, I turn my attention to the lives of others. I open to the interactive dance of our intersecting lives. Alert and attentive, I learn from those around me. Empathetic and involved, I teach what I have learned. Ours is a journey of shared hearts. I lift the lantern of camaraderie.”

And thank you Betsy for reminding me of the analogy of Johnny Appleseed. I look forward to seeing what wisdom I can gather as well as scatter.

Caring in Cameroon

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When we observe anything in this world, our perspective is tightly interconnected with our cultural context. As we grow from the egocentrism of childhood to a more expansive view as adults, we may see that not everyone comes from our circumstances, shares our belief system or our way of doing things. At the age of 52, I was a late bloomer in my foray into other cultures. But travel to New Zealand and the Palestinian Territories in 2014, and speaking at the first International Summit on Pediatric Psychosocial Services began a process that continues today. I have learned that “Child Life” has many names and forms across the globe.

As I cast a wide net with my blog, trying to see how I can do the most good, it occurred to me that I could use it as a platform for getting out the good word about what people are doing in other countries to make life better for children in and out of hospitals. So every so often, I will choose a country and share the story of a colleague who is holding the torch of kindness to dispel the darkness of fear and pain for sick children.

My first spotlight is on Macdonald Doh, my honorary son and a head nurse in the Emergency Department of the Yaounde Gynaeco-Obstetrics and Pediatric Hospital in Cameroon, Africa. I met him at the CLC Summit where he represented his country along with 45 delegates from all over the world.  In Cameroon, there is one doctor to every 10,000 people, as compared with 2.4 doctors per 1,000 in the USA. Continue reading