Mary Beth Hagey is a docent for the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and a board member of a private foundation awarding scholarships to students demonstrating outstanding service in their communities and academic excellence. For the past 25 years, Mary Beth has been an active volunteer for the local schools (room mother to PTA President), in her community (scout leader, coach and mentor), as well as on a global level (participated in and organized the AIDS Walk Africa for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation). The “Greg Feldman, MD, Memorial Surgical Mission to Rwanda” is Mary Beth’s first trip with MMFC.
Sunday, March 10, 2013
“Muraho, Odette. May I take your photo?” all the while pantomiming with my camera. My Kinyarwanda vocabulary is limited to a few pleasantries. I needn’t have worried though. Her infectious smile lights the room; words seem unnecessary. The goiter on Odette’s neck resembles a lumpy grapefruit. With the help of a local interpreter, I come to understand that Odette and her younger sister have walked for 3 days to Gitwe Hospital in hopes that she will be selected to have this life changing surgery performed by American doctors and nurses donating their time and skill with Medical Mission for Children. She made this identical trek last year, but by the time she arrived, the schedule was already filled. Her enthusiasm and gratitude are palpable. Odette recounts her difficulty breathing when she carries her burdens on her head as well as when she sleeps. Odette asks to see her “before” photo as I head for the door. She wants to remember what she used to look like. Somehow I think she will be excited to see the “after” photo as well.