I often wonder what this year would have been like had I come to Rwanda independently of GHC. As someone who knew I wanted to work in global health since I was a teenager, I very easily could have gotten on a plane and found a project here independently. Two months into the fellowship year, however, I now wonder how I was ever effective in the past without this kind of community.
There’s a very specific culture among those in global health work: focus on your goal, never take no for an answer, and always doing whatever it takes to get the job done. What we often ignore though, as we forge through obstacles and push our projects forward, are those around us trying just as hard to do the same thing.
Perhaps rather than pushing ourselves harder, we need to take a moment to notice those around us. This fellowship has taught me to do just that. Whether it be consulting another GHC fellow on a monitoring and evaluation tool, staying up late to debate the implications of foreign aid, or simply knowing that I always have a shoulder to lean on when the work gets challenging, having this community of peers makes me that much more effective in what I strive to do for health equity.
The lesson I’ve learned so far is that it’s not about pushing myself to do more on my own, but it’s about realizing what I can’t do without others. Sometimes having the humility to say, “I can’t do this by myself”, gives others permission to join you side-by-side and do it with you.
I smile every day knowing that there is always another fellow by my side, and that these fellows will be my partners for the long haul.