Heroes – Why We Need More

As we celebrate humanitarian heroes on this year’s World Humanitarian Day (WHD), some heroes who saved an infant’s life, come to mind. They risked the wrath of a community by calling off a day-long mobile health clinic at midday, in order to save the life of a boy who might never know their names

During the fast paced horn of Africa drought, the health situation was dire and together with partners Medical Teams International (MTI), World Concern ran weekly mobile clinics across half a dozen villages.

These villages were located on both sides of the Kenya-Somalia borderline, and reaching them often involved long distance travels on bumpy, risky and sometimes impassable roads. One particularly difficult journey still sits in my mind.

It involved an infant whose life was on the edge. Although treatment had been administered, he got worse. To rescue his life, we’d have to take him to a hospital about 3 hours away.

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IMG_12121Driving on top speed was crucial, but bumps on the rough terrain compromised an intravenous drip running from the ceiling of the car to his veins. This was his lifeline.

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We winced at each bump on the road, and agonized watching his mother desperately trying to keep him still. He had only a few hours to live, the medics warned, and the possibility of losing a precious child, right before our eyes was disturbing.

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Being largely remote, villagers had either walked or been carried for long distances in order to arrive for the weekly mobile clinic but with their situations stabler, these medics gambled on helping save his life.

Fortunately, relief came at some point in the journey when he finally became strong enough to bite something. He smiled.  Photo credit | Ashley Johansen
Fortunately, relief came at some point in the journey when he finally became strong enough to bite something. He smiled.

It paid off as the boy eventually recovered.  He might never know, but some heroes helped save his life.

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Andrew, Bruce, Ashley and Bonnie pose

On this year’s World Humanitarian Day, I toast to you!

The world needs more heroes.

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Photo credit – Ashley Johansen