Funny that it seems my best time for reflection appears to be while high above the clouds and Mother Earth that I love so much. Perhaps it relates to the fact that these are the times of transition for me, often traveling between my two very distinct, but also in many ways quite similar, lives. In the Philadelphia area, where I have now lived for close to the majority of my life, are my family and friends, those that I have grown to know over so many years and that not only include those related by blood, but also my colleagues, my patients and, most importantly, the residents who I work with and who bring me great joy every day to see their amazing enthusiasm, expertise and compassion. They are some of the many lights of my life. In Tanzania, where I have now spent a year of my life with my combined fourteen trips over the last eight years, I have found new family and friends, not only among those who I have worked with so closely and at FAME, but also the many incredible souls who have adopted me as their family and have given so much of themselves along the way. I am forever grateful to have had the opportunities I’ve had in my life and for those many thoughtful and loving individuals who have made it possible for me to have had them. They are too numerous to name here, of course, as there have been so many. You know who you are, though, and you should feel the love and gratitude I have for you not only on this day of thanks, but on every day of the year, for without you I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
I am not traveling to Africa today, of course, having just returned from my fall trip three weeks ago, but rather to Colorado, to visit my son, Daniel, who is living and going to school in Boulder. His journey has truly been an inspiration and for those of you who know him, I need say no more. For those of you who don’t, I could only hope for each of you that you have someone similar in your life. My other inspiration, Anna, who is currently living and working in Los Angeles, not far from where I originally grew up, has found her home and her calling for now on the opposite coast and will have to wait for my visit in the near future as we are now spread across the country. Anna’s life has taken her to such far away places as Turkmenistan, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey on her own, not to mention that she was the original inspiration for me to have gone to Africa, accompanying her on safari through our mutual love of animals. I have been blessed with two absolutely amazing children and am so thankful on every day of the year to know them for the wonderful individuals that they are.
On this day of thanks, I am also grateful to those who have continued to support me in the work we are doing in Northern Tanzania and at FAME. We have been allowed to enter a world so often very different from ours, where so much of what we take for granted is just not possible, yet with your help we have brought some light to the world of those who are without. As you know from reading my blog, we are now nearing completion of our new volunteer home at FAME, the Raynes House, that will allow us to continue our work into the future. Before it is ready for occupancy, though, it will need furnishings such as beds, sheets, towels, dishes and all the essentials for us to live there while we provide our neurology clinics at FAME and our mobile clinics to the surrounding villages. I would ask for your continued support by visiting our campaign website and considering a contribution to this effort:
For those of you that have already donated, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to everyone, I wish you a very wonderful and happy Thanksgiving as we all have so much to be thankful for in our lives.