Thebarge is a physician assistant who went to Togo, West Africa, to work in a mission hospital for three months. She shares her experiences, her observations, and spiritual lessons learned. Her studies in journalism show as this is a very well written memoir of a difficult time.
Her stories of the people she met are heart warming and heart breaking. Her buying a soccer ball for local boys was a heart warming experience. Her losing so many of her patients was just heart breaking.
I was surprised at Thebarge's account of how the whites in the mission hospital treated the local employees. While there was not outright racism, it was disappointing to see that the Togolese hospital workers were not invited to the Sunday church service.
The memoir is a good look at working in another culture. Thebarge writes about the plight of women in the country, for example, and the painful custom of female circumcision. She shares the anguish she felt when medicines so common in the US were not available for her to use in Togo.
Thebarge shares her struggles with God, asking why so many suffer and die. She also shares spiritual insights she gained from her experience. When she was deathly sick with malaria, she asked God to heal her with the same Sunday morning power with which He raised Jesus from the dead. Then she realized that same power from God was active on Friday, giving Jesus the strength to suffer and die for us. We want the Sunday power but often receive the Friday power instead.
Thebarge hopes her story will encourage readers to help those in developing countries. I recommend her memoir. You will read an honest and insightful account of work among people who so desperately need the help of others.
My rating: 5/5 stars.
Sarah Thebarge is an international speaker and the author of The Invisible Girls. She earned her physician assistant degree at Yale and was studying journalism at Columbia when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In addition to her work in Togo, she served in the Dominican Republic and started a clinic in Kenya for children who lost their parents to AIDS. She is a spokesperson for Compassion International and lives in San Francisco when she is not traveling the world. You can find out more at https://www.sarahthebarge.com/.
FaithWords, 336 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.