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Dear Samantha

Samantha Burkart wrote:

Samantha Burkart wrote:

hi, im in grade 6, we are doing speeches and I'm going to do "Doctors Without Borders" but the probleme is that out of all the info I have I dont think that theres anything that I could put in thats real special... so I was wondering if you were doing the speach what would be the one big thing you'd make them try to remembre for the rest of there lives?

thanks so much

(p.s do you know someone from kenora ontario?)

(p.p.s you guys/girls are my heros , you're so brave!)

(p.p.p.s. what are you (job wise)? )

29/03 18:07:54

Dear Samantha,

I am sorry that I got your message so late, I do not have regular access to the internet in my project so I did not get the e-mail about your speech until now.

I am working in the Democratic Republic of Congo as an Outreach Nurse. My job is to travel to different Health Centres that MSF supports and make sure they have enough medicines. I also try to teach the nurses who work in the Health Centres about how to take care of patients because sometimes they are not sure what to do if a patient is very sick and they are very far from the hospital and the doctors. Also there are no ambulances here in the Congo, so sometimes I bring very sick patients to the hospital.

The people here have had a very difficult time because there was a war that lasted for more than five years and the people who were fighting did a lot of really bad things and a lot of people died, even children. The war is over in this part of the country, but some people are still fighting in other parts. Now that the war is over here, MSF is trying to help the people to rebuild their lives.

If I was doing a speech about MSF... I would want to help people think about the word "solidarity." This is a very important word in MSF. What it means, for me, is standing beside people who have had a very difficult time so that they don't feel like they are alone in the world. It means that we are all connected, and that if someone is suffering, even though they are very far away or may seem different than us, then we have a responsibility to try to ease the suffering of that person if we can. I would want the people who listen to your speech to know that the people in Africa are just like them and that it is important to try to think about how other people in the world live because on the inside we are all the same, and so if one person is hurting, then it hurts everyone.

There are many different ways to show solidarity. Even just learning about how other people live and what there lives are like can make a difference. It can teach people to be more tolerant of each other, and this alone can change many lives. Many people show solidarity by donating money to MSF so that people like me can come here and help the people of Congo. Without them, we could not be here. Some people talk with governments and big companies to try to help people have access to medicines at a fair price, like HIV medicines for example. This is very important work right now because a lot of people are infected with HIV, and many of them are very poor and do not have the money to buy the very expensive medicines. And then of course there are girls named Samantha who give speeches about MSF to teach people about what we are doing and how they can help.

When people know that someone cares about what has happened to them, it can give them the courage and the hope that they need so that they can keep living, even though they may have lost their homes or their families and have had very bad things done to them. Solidarity means that even though a person might live in Canada, they care about what is happening to their brothers and sisters all the way in Africa. I just wanted to say thank you very much for your letter. It helped me to remember all of the reasons why I came to Africa to work with MSF and why this work is so important.

Thank you,

Shauna Sturgeon

(p.s. you are the first person I have met from Kenora, Ontario, but I do know someone from Red Lake Ontario, which isn't so far from you)

(p.p.s. People like you who support MSF are the real heroes, and I am not so brave, I am afraid of snakes!)

(p.p.p.s I am a nurse, but here the nurses do some of the jobs that doctors do in Canada because there are not enough doctors, and also, like I wrote, I sometimes do the job of a paramedic because there are no ambulances)

"What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?"

~Vincent Van Gogh~