Dr. Johannes Höß (third person from the right) was so enthusiastic about the team members of his prison mission in Ethiopia that he would love to share his experiences with you and with future volunteers. Photo: humedica
“You will gain experiences that you will never forget!”
Several times in a year, humedica sends medical teams on prison missions that are prepared and carried out together with a partner organisation, Prison Fellowship International (PFI). How important it is, on missions like these, to have a well-working team, whose members get along well with each other, enjoy working together and supporting each other, was experienced recently by general practitioner Dr. Johannes Höß in Ethiopia:
“I have been on several missions with humedica and PFI, and after feeling a nervous flutter at the beginning, when everything was still new and unknown to me, I have adjusted well to working under the special conditions of a prison mission.
Yet what surprises me again and again is how weird, how funny and how great such a team can be. After the past three years in which I went on several missions with the same brilliant team, I thought: “It cannot become better!”
But then, in September 2012, I went on a prison mission in Ethiopia and new people from totally different backgrounds stepped into my life. For one thing, there were two young female colleagues, one of them very calm, a tower of strength, yet giggling all day long at the same time. The other one was singing and dancing 24 hours a day until…well, until the doctor arrived, one could say.
For another thing, there was an Austrian dentist whose good looks would rather make you expect her promenading on Kärntner Straße (note: famous shopping street in Vienna). Instead of that, she was completely in her element as a dentist, caring for her patients even under the most repugnant circumstances.
Apart from that, a lot of amusement was caused by a female internist and senior physician, who exuded calmness, but, in addition to her expert knowledge, was always ready with a terribly dry comment. In terms of humour, she was supported by our team leader and jack-of-all-trades, our all-purpose weapon of eastern origin, who, in spite of his rudimentary language skills, held a funny and touching speech in every prison and at every church service, using his whole body as an instrument.
With our Belgian nurse, we had a team member who combined very different qualities in her personality, such as steadfastness and emotionality. On the one hand, she had the total control of our dispensary and the distribution of medication, on the other hand, with her singing, she touched the hearts of prisoners so deeply that we had to wipe away lakes of tears.
Finally, our team was completed by my roommate, who scared me with his academic title during our fist conversation. Yet after having talked for five minutes, he revealed his jocular attitude and great sense of humor.
Different personalities in a team bring along different traits of character. Thereby, all can learn from the others and be part of the team with all their heart – like Michal Becker. Photo: humedica/Dr. Johannes Höß
During the meetings we held every evening in order to recapitulate the experiences made during the day, we arranged a two-person circle time. There, we reflected on profound questions like “What colour was your day today?”. These meetings were of inestimable value, especially for the development of a team spirit.
In spite of my humorous manner of expression and the experiences shared above I would not like to create the impression that such a mission cannot be physically and emotionally exhausting. Rather, with my words, I would like to reach those people who, like myself, have hesitated for years when it came to going on such a mission – fearing their own courage. Fact is that you will always find new “excuses” that prevent you from getting involved.
To all those people I would like to say: Go for it, right now, on the next mission! You will gain experiences that you will never forget. Always bear in mind: You are not alone, you will have a team around you that will laugh with you (and cry with you when it is necessary), that will support you and pray with you. In short: You will gain a new family and can make friends for life. If you are still hesitating now, please call me. humedica has got my number.
Yours, Johannes Höß"
Since the beginning of 2011 there has been the humedica travel fund for the financial relief of our volunteers, who have to bear the expenses of long-planned missions themselves. Please support them by making an online-donation and help our medical volunteers to relieve the distress of many people, be it in a prison or elsewhere. Thank you so much!
humedica e. V.
Reference „Travel Fund“
Account 47 47
Bank Code 734 500 00
SWIFT-Code: BYLA DE M1 KFB