Hope for Togo – One Year of Open Arms and Smiles
A story of hope in Togo through the eyes of Hannah Morin-Roy, a previous student of University of New Hampshire’s Nursing program.
I’ve had a handful of experiences in my lifetime that have shaped who I am today. All of these experiences have made an impact on the way I think, the way I act, and the way I treat others. When reflecting on these experiences, one of the most prominent adventures includes working with Global Partners in Hope.
Prior to traveling to West Africa, I was unsure of how the experience would not only influence my short-term decisions after the trip, but how it would alter my perspective on life and the nursing care I provide to my patients in the United States.
My Time in Togo
A little over one year ago, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to travel to Togo, West Africa with Global Partners in Hope (GPiH). I was selected among two other UNH nursing students to travel with GPiH and visit with the local residents, learn about their culture, and perform and teach medical care. We performed clinics and assessments in a rural village and at multiple orphanages. Not only did we help individuals in that moment, we helped GPiH progress to the goal of building sustainable lifestyles for these communities.
During my stay in Togo, my perspective on life changed immensely. The small worries I had back in the United States were no longer significant. The daily stress and concern for minor issues had washed away. I was reminded that there is more to life than we are often led to believe, and Togo was that reminder. I was reminded to not take simple things for granted, like electricity or clean water. I was reminded to be thankful for every meal and every cold shower. However, I was also reminded that each person you encounter is battling a different fight, and to greet them with open arms and a smile.
While in Togo, I was struck by the kindness, happiness, and love that each individual shared with me and our group. In the community, each person was treated with respect, and was welcomed with open arms and a smile. I found their joy was contagious – a joy I feel I brought home with me and still carry it today.
One Year Later
One year later, I am beginning my professional nursing career and reflecting on how Togo affects my daily life. Not a day passes where I don’t recall the people I met and the work we did in Africa. I often find myself performing small acts of kindness, or offering assistance to others who may need it. I find it more important to spread happiness to others each day than to worry about the small issues that I once focused on.
Each time I walk into a new patient’s room, I greet them with open arms and a smile. I want them to feel welcome and safe, while they may be encountering some of their worst days. I want to be the light in the room that motivates them to get better, that shows them there will be better days. Togo showed me hope, and I want to spread that hope to others. Togo showed me that we have a bigger mission, and that is to help our global communities as much as possible. It is to help each other as much as possible.
The work that Global Partners in Hope is bringing to developing countries is fulfilling a great need in our global community. I am beyond thankful that my dream of participating in a medical mission trip came true. I hope to return to Togo in the to experience their open arms, smiles, kindness and gratitude once again.