A few weeks ago our team returned to the office gate to find a crowd hovering over an unresponsive woman, a crying child attached to her hip, and hundreds of flies surrounding the scene. Members of the community around her took turns stepping forward, shaking her, touching her face, and trying to rouse her from unconsciousness. Next to the woman was a plastic bin, seemingly the attraction of the flies. As someone opened the lid, the most awful smell erupted and filled the air with the odor of rotten meat. After calling the local government official and speaking with the community members, we discovered the woman was intoxicated, trying to sell the rotten meat, and was looking to give away her child to anyone willing to take her.
Hours later I received word that a fellow, friend, and colleague had suddenly passed away. When I began reflecting on the lives he had touched and the work he had done to improve the lives of women and children around the world, I couldn’t help but see the connection. He had dedicated his career to providing access to healthcare services, most recently family planning services, for women like the one at our gate. He made a difference, in a big way.
While he left us too soon, we can continue to gain inspiration from his hard work, passion, and unwavering kindness. On the days when our jobs become too challenging and we struggle to remember our own value in this world, think of Alex, think of his work, and remember, what you do in this life does matter.