By Phorum Sheth
It’s funny to think that just two years ago I walked into the CCC office with little to no life experience and huge vague dreams of making an impact that I had no real way of attaining. I was confined to the designed life plan I’d created for myself at 16. Working at CCC I’m glad I was able to broaden my perspective and learn what it really took make an impact. I’ve worked here nearly two years and have been on five programs to Haiti, Vietnam, Tanzania, and Kenya. I’ve learned life skills here that are so ingrained in me that often my coordinator role takes over. I recall last year when my parents were struggling to organize my sister’s wedding on a boat, I assumed the role of point person and found myself as the 23-year-old wedding coordinator. Working with this amazing team every single day I re-learn a life lesson I’ll never forget: The best and richest paths are the ones you make for yourself. Along the way you’ll be driven to tears by the kindness and good-heartedness the people you meet along the way.
My first time learning this was on my first program in Haiti. I’d worked at CCC for three months when I got the chance to join this program with Dr. Gordon and the CCC team. I learned quickly the only way to get things done is to do them yourself. On my first day on site I remember watching Dr. Gordon rolling a huge cryotherapy tank a quarter of a mile after every male we asked for help refused. Watching this gorgeous woman take control of this tank with grace and a bright smile on her face lit up my insides and showed me I was in the right place. It was like she was telling the world with this gesture, I can do anything I set my mind too.
It’s interesting that after working here for two years, many of the most inspirational people I work with primarily speak a different language than me. On my program in Vietnam, I met so many incredible individuals that I now can call my friends. I am just astounded by the passion they show for women’s healthcare. So far in Vietnam, over 40,000 women have been screened in 4 years. But this number cannot express the care that is taken everyday to make sure this program succeeds. Dr. Dzung, the Director of Reproductive Health, is one such individual who would venture out on a boat that would take an entire day’s ride, practiced “See & Treat” women on the tiny islands that lack healthcare services. Our partner Vu, who met Dr. Gordon while working as a tour guide, who has so much passion for CCC that he has helped the CCC team open 10 clinics all over Vietnam. There are so many people I could speak of that have instilled in me what can be done with passion and a good heart.
The most rewarding aspect of this job is the fact that to be successful as a Program Coordinator you must not only rise up and become a leader but you must find a way to inspire others to do so as well. I found myself in Tanzania helping train nearly 30 health care professionals and set up 3 new sustainable “See & Treat” clinics. Not one of these single achievements am I more proud of, however, than my mentorship of a nurse named David. He soon became my partner in crime helping me to make peace with the mob of women waiting for screening. We often skipped lunch together agreeing silently as we looked outside the patient room at the ever growing mass of women tripping over each other outside. What struck me about him most was his undying motivation to bring this screening to every woman in Tanzania. He inspired all the healthcare professionals in his cohort to do the same. He was so passionate about our organization that he traveled 14 hours to attend another of our training programs as a Lead Trainee.
He has created a Facebook group for Tanzanians dedicated to informing them about the importance of Women’s Health. He’s done wonders for his program in Mwanza and I am looking forward to continue to follow his progress. It’s people like him that have shown me more than anyone else that you make your own path.
I’m very sad to leave CureCervicalCancer. I feel as if I’m leaving a little bit of myself behind here as I continue on my journey. But I hope all of you reading can take a moment with me now to thank the CureCervicalCancer team and our Global Trainees who will be here long after I’m gone continuing to provide this amazing service to women all over the globe. Who will continue making paths for the women all over to provide this life saving service. I wish them luck and leave them with my love.