Every year with the summer service camp brings a new experience. This was my third mission back on the trip and I was given the opportunity of coming back as a Student Leader, along with Bi Pham, under the camp’s first year as the VnHOPE Alliance. Even though we worked under a new organization name, we still had the same goal as previous years, and that was to provide medical services to the impoverished populations of Vietnam.
With the close partnership of Tan Tao University, we were able to develop a new training curriculum for our student volunteers, both from the US and Vietnam. This not only introduced the horizons of medical training to the students, but it also fostered a bond of friendship between our two cultures. This comradery was especially evident through the 7 clinics, as we all worked tirelessly at providing free medical care to the people of Long An. Despite the exhaustion displayed by all of our volunteers, it was extremely humbling to see how much compassion and care was given to each and every patient that we saw.
As a medical service camp, we come back with the purpose of making a difference. But something just as important that we get out of this experience is the lasting friendships and memories, and that is especially true with this years’ mission as well. I will never forget the way that our patients have touched our hearts. I will never forget the motivated and selfless group of health professionals that took us under their wing and guided us not only through the ins-and-outs of medicine, but life in general. And of course, I will never forget the countless friendships that were made and rekindled during this mission.
Our services as a medical mission are limited, given our time and fields of expertise. But with the prospect of returning back to the people of Long An in future visits as well as educating aspiring health care professionals both in the US and Vietnam, we are hopeful of the impact that we will make as a new organization. Sometimes all you need is a little bit of HOPE.
Until next time, VnHOPE. I hope to see you again soon.