Monday, April 14, 2008

From Prem Shekar, MD, cardiac surgeon

Team Hearters:
It has been a singular honor and pleasure to work alongside all of you during this mission. It is very clear that it has been a great success. Hats off to Ceeya, Leslie and Chip for this.

It has been my dream that I would try and return to this world (at least in part) what it has given to me in plenty. This dream is now beginning to be realized. And what a great group of people to start doing this extraordinary work with. Barry Shopnick maintains that it takes a special gene to do this kind of work and I believe we have that gene.

I had never imagined that I would be sad leaving this place. But, as I sit in the Departure Lounge of the Kigali Airport (all alone – thanks to my visa adventures), there is a mixed feeling of happiness and sadness. Happy that I have finally started my "payback" journey and sad as I have seen one more time (as I have again and again) that there are people on this planet who lack the very basic necessities that we so easily take for granted. Humility is one lesson that I have learnt from this trip.

It certainly is a beautiful country and with its humble, grateful, happy, traumatized yet determined people. From my end, I thank you all once again for all your efforts in making this possible and I hope all of you will return on the next mission as I surely will.

God bless (and for the atheists, may the force be with you).

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