Sidney is an emergency room doctor from Australia working as a pediatrician here at LFHC. He is also one of only two doctors at our Development Clinic.
“It is difficult to describe the experience of being a volunteer at Lao Friends Hospital for Children. I’ve been given an amazing opportunity to work in a hospital that delivers quality progressive care with the co-operation of excellent local and visiting staff. The difference the hospital is making to the local community, and the groundwork being laid for the future care of children through the establishment of services and training of local staff is indeed inspirational to see and be a part of.
However, there have also been difficult times while volunteering. Specifically, I have not been able to care for children the way I can back in Australia. Invariably, the reason has been due to the limitation of resources, be it the ordering of tests, the supply of medicines, or the ability to provide services. When faced with these challenges, especially when the need is life saving, the sadness felt is profound.
Yet it is in these moments of heaviest sadness that the families will turn to us, compose themselves, and then take the time to say a heartfelt thank-you before taking their child home. These moments are profoundly humbling and it is these moments that defines the experience of being a volunteer here for me. In that simple act of showing gratitude — despite what we could not do — I see a depth and generosity of spirit that is in abundance among the people of Lao.
It is unquestionably the people of Lao that set working at Lao Friends Hospital for Children apart from other experiences I have had. The people of Lao have a true understanding of community, an innate curiosity, a gentle compassion, and an accepting perspective on life that have been fine food for my unknowingly hungry soul.
Working at Lao Friends Hospital for Children is a life-changing experience. I recommend it to all those who can, because I can assure you, being constantly surrounded by the wealth of humanity inherent in the people of Lao, I have never felt like a volunteer, not even for a minute. I’ve never before received so much back for the work I have done. If ever I needed a reminder of what it means to be grateful for what I have, and how to care for my neighbor, the Lao people have done so without me even realizing, and I am humbled and grateful every day for this opportunity.”