Perspective and gratitude
Dr. Sonya Floreani, a chiropractor from Australia volunteering at the Nirankari Mission in Mumbai, hugs a tearful patient. The patient suffers from constant dizziness that has affected her daily life.
I recently had the opportunity to travel to Mumbai, India, for the Sant Nirankari Mission, a five-day spiritual event attended by millions of devotees from different parts of India.
There was fresh energy radiating from the chiropractors volunteering there, all eager to get their hands on the thousands of people lined up to seek relief from whatever ails them – knee pain, back pain, stiff necks. One woman was crying as she told Australian chiropractor Dr. Sonya Floreani about her struggle with constant dizziness, her face full of despair because her condition has greatly affected her daily functions. She returned to see Floreani the next day, still with tears in her eyes, but her countenance has changed. She looked hopeful – perhaps, thankful that someone seems to be listening, wanting to genuinely help her.
There is less than one doctor for every 1,000 people in India. Although the same ratio is true for about 45 per cent of countries belonging to the World Health Organization, it falls short of the WHO's minimum recommended ratio of one doctor per 1,000 population. This deficit is felt more strongly in developing countries with a large geographical footprint, where hospitals and clinics are concentrated in urban cities and are almost non-existent in far-flung areas where most people live and work.
Despite the shortcomings of our health-care system in Canada, we have reason to be grateful. Those at the Nirankari Mission waiting to see a chiropractor were lined up outside the chiropractic tent as early as 5 a.m. each morning – no complaints. In our fast-paced life in North America, it's easy to take for granted the things that come naturally for us – like walking or taking a short drive to a clinic to see a doctor.
The volunteer chiropractors and students at the Indian mission – most of whom come from developed nations – recognize this and serve with gratitude. They have so much to give, but so little time to give it so they soldier on for five days, serving as many people as they can because they know after the mission is over, the people will go back to their homes and go back to a broken health system.
When life's comforts come easily, it is not difficult to lose sight of the fact that such conveniences are a rare luxury to others. It is good to be reminded of this reality. Perspective is everything and gratitude can move us to become better versions of ourselves.
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