So That Was The Link In The Chain? ?
So That Was The Connection?
As he stood there dressed in a suit and preparing to kick start the match, he wondered how he –a medical doctor-had ended up there on the makeshift football field. He was not as a professional footballer nor was he playing in the match. No! He was the chairman and guest of honour of a football match in this African village and the protocol was for the guest of honour to kick the ball endorsing that the match was underway.
This was typical of the developments in his role as a village doctor, at that time. He had now become a local celebrity in his own right. It had not always been so though.
My brother, who is one of twenty three, had finally qualified as a medical doctor after several years of study and training. Filled with youthful exuberance, he wrote to me (I still have that letter somewhere) complaining bitterly of how the Ministry of Health had assigned him to work in the ‘bush’-village. To his disappointment he would be spending a few years as a village doctor where his contemporaries had the opportunities and a head start at building their network and wealth in the big cities. Somehow this did not seem fair to him. ‘God helps those who help themselves’ which has been a popular quote to get people to contribute to their destiny did not seem to be having an impact here.
I wrote back telling him that I was not sorry he had been assigned to the ‘bush’ and when he was applying for admission into the medical school, I had prayed fervently for God’s help with the intense competition. I had promised God that he would help the sick and suffering and I had in no way thought of suggesting the sick rich or sick poor, just sick people period. Now that he had qualified, I did not see why he needed to complain. All he needed to do was to serve the people and God with all his heart and might to the best of his ability.
Need-less-to-say he never complained to me after that, now that he knew my views on the matter. Neither did he complain when the local folks paid him in chickens and yams as a fee for their improved health. Neither did he complain when he was honoured as the chairman of a football match and all other perks that came with the job. Neither did he complain a few years later when he was posted back to the city with fond memories of the village. So that appeared to be that.
Years went by and my brother applied for a Masters in Public Health. This was to be organised through a scholarship by the prestigious WHO. Only fourteen people in the world were selected annually, each from a ‘developing’ country. The course was to run for a year in Amsterdam. Again this was intensely competed for. The WHO went through every form with a fine tooth comb, visiting the birthplaces, educational institutions and work places indicated on the forms of those selected to ascertain their authenticity. As you've guessed my brother’s application was only accepted because he had worked as a village doctor.
Today he works as fully fledged consultant in Pubic Health all because of the work he did in that village. Somehow I do not hear him complaining now.
In the words of Steve Jobs, ‘You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.’