Lilly Volunteer Shares Experience from South Africa
Guest blog from Amy Sousa, Communication Director for Lilly's emerging markets business area. Amy wrote this blog from Zandspruit, South Africa, where she is currently volunteering as part of our Connecting Hearts Abroad program.
Like a lot of volunteers, I did my research ahead of time. On the history, the climate, the healthcare system, the greatest challenges facing the poor.
“I came open,” said one of my fellow volunteers. “Open to help, to do what I need to do, open to the experience.”
Now that I’ve been at the HOPE Centre healthcare clinic located in Zandspruit, an informal settlement in Johannesburg, South Africa, I see that as the better approach. The HOPE Centre provides treatment and education to local residents about health issues, especially diabetes and hypertension.
Unfortunately, openness still won’t protect you from the shock of seeing thousands of shacks leaning against each other for support, sewage running through the streets, and limited access to basic healthcare, water and electricity. But openness will keep you from being overwhelmed by the magnitude of need.