These personal observations about the 1995 Medical Mission to Guyana, South America, were written by Angelique (Cole) Moses (at age 17), 24 February 1997, for the "Arkansas Governor's Scholarship" application essay. (She was selected as a 1997 "Governor's Distinguished Scholar," by the way, and attended Harding University in Searcy.)

I have been blessed with a family able to provide me with limitless opportunities throughout my life. I have been to Europe, Washington, D.C., and all over the Internet. Yet I found that the experience that really affected me the most was traveling to a country much less advanced than our own and meeting people who were less concerned with education. For one week in each of the past two summers, I was a part of a medical mission trip to Guyana, South America. When I had to raise my own money (well, most of it), I found that the Americans who are most able to give were the ones least likely to be generous. I really saw where our priorities are. Soon, however, I would discover that the rest of the world is different. We spent months attending one class per week learning just what it was we would be doing. I have to admit that I was overwhelmed. We were supposed to share the Gospel with a stranger in less than half an hour, while all they wanted was to see a doctor. I found it hard to believe that they would tolerate this. Yet, despite the growing anxiety within me, I continued to look forward to the trip.

I had never been to a third world country before. After a long, long day of flying and five-hour layovers, it was a shock to arrive in a countryside that reminded me somewhat of Florida. But only somewhat. The climate was awful--probably 100o and more humid than an Arkansas summer. In addition, we women were all wearing dresses to fit in better with the Guyanese and not offend their modesty. Needless to say, it wasn't fun. Not yet, at least. That night in our hotel, I worried. I must have laid awake for hours dwelling on what I was going to do the next day. Will they even want to talk to me? I'm just a kid. Will I know what to say? I was a wreck.

Well, the next morning we all loaded into small vans and went down the road. Let me just insert that I had never fully appreciated our traffic laws until then. These people drive ten times worse than Oklahomans. Only by a divine miracle did we arrive safely at the clinic. The first thing I saw was people--lots of them. There must have been a few hundred in a rough line from the door out to the road. We weren't even going to start for a couple of hours. A man next to me said that they start arriving there at five in the morning, just to get a chance to see a doctor. We were at an elementary school which lent us four classrooms to use as our clinic. While the adults set up, I just looked all around. This building that they called a school, we would have torn down. All the people were wearing their best clothes--most of the time this meant sweaters and good jackets--even in the intolerably hot weather. They all looked so . . . anxious. I realized that they didn't know what they were supposed to do any more than I did. The children in the other classrooms looked so excited about the Americans in their school. The whole experience was life-altering.

Throughout the rest of the week, I learned what really matters in life. It is not our potential to learn; it is certainly not our material success. These people taught me that what matters is our hope and our contentment. Our society gets so caught up in success, we think that higher education is the answer to all of the world's problems. We all have a potential and, indeed, must persevere to achieve that potential, but our G.P.A. and yearly incomes are no comparison for our contribution to the good of all humanity. Whether you agree with Christianity or not, we brought these people hope. And it is hope that makes life worth living, instead of the monotonous day-to-day stress that we make of it. I returned home with a determination to be the best that I can, and that while life may be a struggle, it is love and the people we love that make it a true blessing and joy.

Link to Angelique's 1997 Guyana Story

Link to her dad's boring 1995 Guyana Report

Partners In Progress Guyana Missions Home Page