It’s not often in medicine that one gets to see so many aspects of humanity in such a short time. As a family doctor finishing an international health residency in Kenya, I saw some of the sickest people in the world, in one of the least resourced settings in the world. While struggling with small tragedies that come hand-in-hand with any developing world setting, FACES Suba unabashedly struck me as a centre of excellence. Getting to know the systems of HIV spread among fisherfolk on Lake Victoria was an intellectually amazing public health opportunity, and I was awash with the irony of how the “First World” could learn so much from the Third.
This experience was uniquely rewarding to me in ways that some would see as mundane. I greeted and complimented each client and colleague by name in my poor Dholuo, and occasionally, worse Swahili. I listened more than I spoke and learned more than I taught; recognizing that when it comes to HIV, perhaps life experience sometimes trumps a university education. Lastly, as I would do in any town back home, I made a concerted effort to build bonds and nourish working relationships and lifelong friendships. This experience enriched my life, affected my practice back home, and I hope that many other students take the humbling opportunity to see it in a similar light.