Posted on 14 June, 2017

With half the week already gone, I am reminded that Open Heart International (OHI) is special in many ways.

Of course, there is the work we came to do. After 3 days, we have performed 17 “open heart” operations on babies, adolescents, and young adults. By the end of the week the team will have performed over 30 operations, almost 3 weeks of cases for many hospitals at home. There is a simple reward in doing this amount of work to help improve lives.


There is the incredible warmth we receive from patients, families, hospital staff, and community. The smiles, handshakes, Bula’s (Hello’s), that greet us everywhere we go. The tables of local food laid out for us day in and out. The grinning invitation to join the local pre-dawn touch football game when I run past. A laugh a minute, loose rules, hamstring straining starts to the day. The beautiful harmonic serenading by the local Adventist community. This generosity of spirit makes coming back to Fiji a unique pleasure.


Then there is the slower reward of long-term friendships, that for me are Fiji specific. Doctors, nurses, organisers, scientists, orderlies, from home and Fiji. Some trace back to my first trip in 2004, others are more recent. They share the common pattern of annual updates of families, career, holidays, and life compressed into a week of 12-hour days. The quiet joy of past patients that come to visit, to show this investment of time, skill, resource is worthwhile.


Finally, there is the joy of sharing this with my son, Finn. He has raised $5,506 (to date) over an 18-month fundraising campaign, specifically to support the costs of OHI’s work in Fiji. As a result OHI has given him the opportunity to visit and see the impact of his fundraising first hand. Hearing his discovery of the pleasure of contributing to a team effort to help others is enough reward on its own.


So, bring on the second half of the week, it is worth it.

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