Wednesday was the last day of surgeries. Our team is starting to get a sense that our time here in Nagamangala is coming to an end.
I woke up to find a bottle of water that I had placed on the table by my bed had been knocked over in the middle of the night, and short-circuited my iPhone. With great embarrassment, I have to admit my first reaction was to feel sorry for myself. I started thinking – how was I going to get it fixed once I got back home, or live without my cell phone for a week while it was being repaired? How would I keep in touch with my clients, family, or friends? I was bummed. Walking over to the hospital I kept running different scenarios in my head of how I was going to repair my phone.
I was sitting in the waiting room, working on my blog, when our first group of patients walked through the door. Among the group waiting for surgery was Komal, a chubby little two-year-old boy. Komal is just the happiest baby and has a zest for life that would make almost anyone jealous. He befriends anyone he meets and our team just can’t get enough of his adorable laugh.
When Komal saw me sitting in the waiting room he jumped off his mother lap and ran over to me with the biggest smile on his face. We started playing and he had the whole waiting room cracking up. After about fifteen minutes one of the nurses came out to get him and he happily walked back to the operating room with her. Just before he was out of sight he turned and waved goodbye to his mother and the rest of the people in the waiting room. And that was when it hit me … people matter, not stuff. Stuff can always be replaced … people can’t.
When you volunteer for a Rotaplast mission it changes the way you see the world. I have had many conversations with different members of our team about the impact Rotaplast has had on their life. Everyone person I spoke with agreed that volunteering for a mission changes your perspective on “life’s problems” and teaches you what is really important.
Losing an iPhone is not a problem. Having a sick baby and not being able to afford the treatment is a problem. Not being able to make enough money to feed your family is a problem. Being shunned from society because you have a cleft lip or burn scars that cover your entire face is a problem. My only wish for myself and the rest of the volunteers on this mission, is that we are able to take the lessons learned in Nagamangala home with us and apply them to our lives. I know that in a couple of weeks I will forget about the time I broke my iPhone, but I will NEVER forget my time in India, the people I volunteered with, or the lives we touched.