What makes someone want to come to Kenya? Someone not from here, not black, with no family members nearby, with no connection to the people and community aside from work?
For those of us who struggle with having meaning in life, global health work can feel like an answer. The US (and I imagine most of the developed world) has a work culture that constantly forces you to prove your worth and to compete with many others who have comparable skills. In these settings, it’s hard to feel like you are adding unique value to your community. They are supersaturated with a ridiculous amount of (maldistributed) resources and highly skilled, highly educated people (also maldistributed). The developing world is saturated with people but not with resources and not with education. As a result, there are a lot of people eager to become skilled and educated to do good work but not enough resources or educators to train them. That’s where we can step in and be useful. That’s where I can do good work.
It’s a combination of the Robin Hood principle and a Chinese proverb: take from the rich, give to the poor; if you give a woman a fish, she’ll eat for a day, if you teach a woman to fish, she’ll eat for a lifetime. Cheezy but practical – and real and meaningful.