By Kay Rahuba, N.P.
Kay Rahuba is a nurse practitioner and program director of
re:solve Crisis Network, part of Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC). Rahuba has gone on four trips with Uganda Christian Solutions, a
faith-based organization that works to provide medical care, clean water and
other services in the east African country. She came back from her most
recent trip at the end of March; on this visit, Rahuba went to Uganda with four
other UPMC employees.
When I was young and dreaming of all the things I wanted to do when I
grew up, I can honestly say mission work never made the list. Not in Pittsburgh
and certainly not halfway around the world. Yet, in 2003 I found
myself in Uganda on a mission team wondering what I was doing
there and chastising myself for glibly saying "sure" when my friend
said, "You should come."
That trip changed my life.
I just returned from my fourth trip to Uganda at the end of March. I
led a 21-member team on a three-week mission to provide free medical care,
Christian education, and children's ministries throughout the country. Our team conducted eight medical clinics
providing free medical care to more than 2,700 people. Our trip was sponsored by Uganda
Christian Solutions (UCS), a faith-based non-profit founded by my friend and
former UPMC nurse, Nancy Denardo.
I believe my mission work in Uganda has changed me. I have learned some
valuable lessons by which I now try to carry out in my life and also my work at
WPIC. I now realize that no matter how little I think I have, I have far more than the
majority of people in the world. I have been offered such selfless generosity by people who
have so little that I was embarrassed. I have been overwhelmed by the humility, graciousness and gentleness of people who have little reason to feel this way. I have learned it is
not all about me through encountering people who care far more about others than themselves. I
learned that success has nothing to do with “stuff," it is about being in relationship with
others. And I like to think I am less judgmental and a little gentler with those I encounter in my daily
life and in my work at re:solve Crisis Network. As a result, I don't see people the same way
anymore. I now look at people and think, "God put that person in my path for a
reason. What do I need to do to help?"
Uganda has been good for my soul.