Day One

A Sudanese boy expresses displeasure from an encounter with the immunization nurse.

A Sudanese boy expresses displeasure from an encounter with the immunization nurse.

Day one at Siloam:  Nashville is lush, green, beautiful, muggy. The sun rises at 5:30 a.m., the interns shortly after.

Whatever we were expecting –  it wasn’t this.

Several things stand out in my mind:

An army of small children attempting to force their way through the door of Apartment E-3 as I approached its peeling facade, suitcase in hand. They were in search of candy.

Warm handshakes from retired Siloam clinic volunteers.

The laughter of a four-year-old Burmese child as he watches his father get his blood pressure taken for the first time.

The tears of the same Burmese child as he receives several vaccinations—his arms held steady by his father. The once laughing child now has his legs held down by a volunteer nurse. Welcome to America.

The pregnant absence of the wife, the Burmese child’s mother, awaiting approval of paperwork in a refugee camp in Thailand.

Prayers asked for and given via volunteer interpreters.

Children’s frantic feet padding down the apartment stairs at the sound of “Silent Night” blaring from the ice-cream truck.

Jesus’ invitation to “come and see” (John 1:35-42).

Whatever we were expecting, it wasn’t this. This is better; there is so much more love, beauty, and gentleness here than any of us could have imagined. There is joy, pain, and authenticity. There are real people, reflections of The Holy One, with scars too deep to ignore.

Come and see.

Editor’s Note:  Claire is a pre-medical student participating in Siloam’s Community Health Immersion.

One thought on “Day One

  1. Thank you aunt barb for sharing this. So wish I was there. Drink this in Claire. You will never be the same. I read once that you are not fully Christian until your heart has been broken by the things that break the heart of Jesus. Welcome to the broken hearts club!!! I look forward to reading more.

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