Much more than a surgical project

Cirugía en Turkana is much more than a surgical project, it is a way of understanding life and telling it to our children. In the search of hope and the conviction that we are not alone, the world will change and become a fairer place.

For a few days now I've been thinking about what I was going to tell you today. It's just that, after so many journeys and so many stories, you end up seeing things from a different perspective. At first, as I wrote in my diary from my first trip, the reality of Turkana touched my heart and made me feel a mixture of fear, rage and helplessness.

Emotions that made it impossible for me to understand how just a few hours away from here there were so many people suffering, dying and without rights. Forgotten by the world.

Time and the subsequent campaigns gave way to another new reality that forged its way right in front of me. It was clear that Turkana had changed me, that I would never be the same after experiencing this terrible reality. But through all of this, I was overcome by a positive feeling, a feeling of hope, and not only by seeing the amount of good people that surrounded me, ready to reach out to people that they didn't know.

And, with time, I started to understand what Turkana is...

Turkana is much more: it's when a bombing in Syria kills school children, when a girl in India is raped on a bus, when entire families flee to refugees camps in the Congo, or when, in Spain, lines of disadvantaged people form outside soup kitchens.

Turkana is all this, a trigger for the most important sense organ that the human being has. The sense that makes us look around us and that warns us of what is happening, that keeps us from being indifferent, that makes us smile, share, tolerate, accept differences and, above all, that makes us fight to change what is wrong. And what's wrong is that some of us have so much and others so little, that some people do not have access to healthcare, that life expectancy is lower than 50, that children's educations are interrupted by forced labour or early maternity. It's wrong that in so many places life is worth less than the bullet that ends it.

That is why Turkana is much more than a surgical project, it is a way of understanding life and of telling it to our children. In search of the hope and conviction that we together can make the world change. And make it a fairer place.

I can assure you that we came back from Turkana with more health than we left there. And thousands of silent testimonies that we keep in our hearts, and that have made us understand that we can learn a lot from the black, nomad herdsmen.

I remember a chat I had with Liliana, one of the missionaries that works in Nariokotome. On a typical hot Turkana night after dinner, she told us how happy her childhood was. She told us how Christmas was the best time of the year, because she did two things that she didn't do any other time of the year: she wore a new dress and ate meat. Once a year.

When material resources are ruled out, differences between people become very small, and only the really important things matter. Life, health, our family.

In this sense we speak a universal language.

Thanks to everyone for talking about, thinking about, narrating and truly feeling Turkana.

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