The Most Disappointing Thing About My 10 Weeks In Iraq

Roqoia and her parents flash big smiles for the camera.

Remember Jenga? That crazy game where you pull blocks out of the wooden tower, hoping it doesn't tumble over? Making plans often feels like a game of Jenga. You build a tower of ideas piece-by-piece, then life pulls at pieces of your plan, and sometimes our tower of plans comes crumbling down...

About a month ago, we received some disappointing news, and the PLC staff had to make a difficult decision. 

The Remedy Mission we all hoped to experience in our city, was canceled. For many of the interns, this Remedy Mission was the biggest reason we fought so hard to get the PLC internship. From the start of our internship process, we wanted to meet the families and kids who would be on the receiving end of lifesaving surgeries. Some of the intern's assigned work even revolved around there being a Remedy Mission.

To make a complicated situation simple, the hospital and a local nonprofit partner didn't prepare enough for the impending surgical mission. The hospital wasn't as equipped to handle these complex surgeries as it should have been and funding was withheld. Surgical missions always have some risk involved, but PLC won't dive into a Remedy Mission with unnecessary risks that could cost children their lives.

PLC could have provided more funds to make the surgical mission happen and just hoped the hospital's current equipment was sufficient, but this is about long term solutions over short term gain. The problem could have been temporarily fixed with a handout, but we would much rather empower local organizations and hospitals to take ownership and responsibility for their community--for saving the lives of their children.

We don't ram solutions down people's throats.

We're here to aid local desires and local initiatives. So when local preparations fall or local enthusiasm wanes, we don't force it. Part of creating long term solutions lies in ensuring that this is something local doctors, government officials and parents of sick babies really want--without our patronage. Thankfully, PLC was still able to host a Remedy Mission, but it was relocated to a partnering city which was better-prepared, in a place most interns were unable to go. When the rug is pulled out from under us, we can’t help but feel disappointment.

However, we must come to the realization that GOD will reconcile our plans. Even when our Jenga tower crumbles to the floor, GOD is still in control. Now Remedy VI is finished in southern Iraq, and we can praise GOD for each of the 18 kids who received a successful heart surgery and for zero fatalities! The internship is now over and--Remedy Mission or not--each of us experienced so many valuable events and lessons. Our plans never really work out quite how we anticipate, but we’ve seen that GOD is trustworthy and will work everything out for the best.

An Iraqi mother cares for her child recovering from surgery.

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The Most Disappointing Thing About My 10 Weeks In Iraq
The Most Disappointing Thing About My 10 Weeks In Iraq
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