I’m home

It has been just over 24 hours since I arrived in Jamaica. Though it seems so distant, it truly was just yesterday that I was rushing to JFK airport, struggling with my bags (how have I not realized the beauty of curbside check in until now?!).  After that, there was only the unending line to security, 3 gate changes and a 1 hour flight time delay before finally we were off.  It was only once I was suspended above NY on my way to Jamaica that I allowed myself to grasp what was happening.  And what was happening was the opportunity of a lifetime. 10 years after graduating high school and leaving Jamaica for college I was coming back as a doctor to hopefully in some small way be able to give back to the country that had given me so much. I am still in disbelief that an organization like the Issa Trust Foundation even exists and so humbled by the work they have been doing in my home country over the past several years. When I heard of the opportunity I immediately started thinking of ways to make it possible for me to be here.  And now I’m here. This month will be a curious mixture of the foreign and the familiar. The culture, as well as the actual communities I will be working in, are familiar.  In fact one of the hospitals I will work at (Port Antonio) is about a 5 minute walk from the house where I grew up and where my parents still live. So I will literally be in my own backyard.  At the same time I am acutely aware of my lack of involvement with the Jamaican medical system to date. My entire medical training has taken place in New York, and I have no doubt that the differences will be stark, and at times jarring. Despite the challenges that may arise in the work setting, the most important thing is that I am home. It feels like home, looks like home, tastes like home and there’s no place in the world like it. RH

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