Friday, October 17, 2014

Rainbow nation

"Rainbow nation" was the term coined by Archbishop Desmond Tutu to describe post-apartheid South Africa, after the country's first fully democratic election in 1994.  I was privileged to participate with a number of people this past week who ably represent the hopes and dreams of the country in trying to improve its health care system. They came from all parts of the country, included a variety of clinical and administrative specialties, and represented all racial and ethnic backgrounds.  Best Care Always was the predominant theme of the conference held by the Hospital Association of South Africa, with support from Discovery Health (the country's major private insurance funder), the country's private hospital firms, and various other organizations involved in clinical care, medical education, and health care policy.

And how fitting to receive the above going-away gift as I drove along the highway after leaving this exemplary meeting!

1 comment:

Randi Redmond Oster said...

When my son was 13 and diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, he won a trip to South Africa with National Geographic Kids. They were looking for the next generation of explorers. Twelve children and a parent were treated to so many of the sights you shared. However, when we were taken to a township. I felt total dread. It was so overwhelming. I never saw such poverty. Then my son announces, on camera, that we have to help these people. I didn't know what to say to him. I didn't want to lie. Here he was sick with daily bouts of pain and now he wanted to help others. There were so many of people living in poverty. Miles and miles of shacks with no water and electricity. I felt hopeless. Then, I looked up and saw a rainbow, just like your picture. I went from feeling dread to hope. I said to Gary, "we will find a way." I didn't know how, but all of a sudden I believed it.

When Gary got back to school, he met a man who helped him ship a container of supplies for two schools. Our whole town contributed. Then Gary decided to help a school get water. From his hospital bed, he and his friends raised the money for a water pump for a town in South Africa.

The rainbow I saw that day in the township gave me a sense of hope. It turned my feelings around and led, in a small way, helping others get to the other side of the rainbow.

Your rainbow is giving me the same feeling. Count me on the team.