Mauritius: The Call

Date: July 6, 2011
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As far back as I can remember, back to my school days, I always wanted to be a biology teacher. But years later I ended up becoming a medical practitioner and looking after patients suffering from HIV and AIDS in my country.

There are signs in one’s life that are only understood when one looks back in the rear-view mirror. Why was I not successful in achieving the goals I set myself? There were recurrent obstacles on my road towards a career. I could hardly understand the reasons and in moments of discouragement, my elder sister would simply tell me: “There is always a better reason why something you want doesn’t happen!”

Little did I know then that an invisible hand was steering me through those obstacles on my way to what I was destined for.

The first sign occurred when, after secondary school, I told my elder sister that I would go abroad to study biology and be a teacher. She answered: “Why spend six years to be a biology teacher, when with an extra year of study you could become a doctor?”

That’s how I dropped my dream of becoming a teacher and flew abroad to study medicine for seven years.

After my studies I returned home and was very keen to practice on my own. After four years, however, I realised that I was not happy because my practice was restricted to only those patients that came to my private consultation room. So I applied for work and got admitted in a public hospital, where, over the years, I gathered greater experience and excitement treating all sorts of ailments.

I also got married and had three children. As the children grew and became less dependent, and I was getting over 40, I realised that all those years, my thirst to learn had never died.

Yet as an all-rounder in my profession, I feared I might get caught in the routine of my work and stagnate. I strongly felt this urge to resume studies and move forward professionally.

I was particularly at ease in gynaecology and I seriously thought of going back abroad and specialising in the health of the female reproductive system. I thought I had found my way.

Unfortunately a series of personal problems cropped up. Things went from bad to worse. I had no choice but to drop the idea of going abroad. Yet again, I now realise the invisible hand of destiny swerved me off that road on purpose.

However, at that time I felt despondent. It was then that I came across a godsend. It was an in-house advert asking for willing doctors to follow a training crash-course in HIV and AIDS treatment in a neighbouring country; one well in advance of my country as far as the treatment of this illness was concerned.

During an entire week, we followed a very intensive course. After this, for a full month, the trainees got practical training and were immersed in the cruel reality of HIV and AIDS-infected patients, under the close supervision of our lecturers.

This was a turning point in my life. By showing us how they touched those patients and cared for them with so much love and compassion, they taught us not to be afraid of something everybody else feared.

I learned then that as medical practitioners, we mustn’t judge or criticise. Everyone has got a right to his or her private life. As doctors we are here to give care, support and treatment, with love and compassion.

It was then that I heard the call. It was there that I realised that all that had happened to me so far had only one cause: preparing me, getting me ready to be near those HIV and AIDS-infected patients. This dawned on me like a great beam of light from heaven and everything became crystal clear.

After the training, I rushed home with only one thing in mind: getting where I felt I professionally belonged; that is, at the bedside of those patients. Strangely though, I didn’t this time encounter any difficulty getting myself admitted in to my country’s specialised medical unit treating HIV and AIDS patients.

Since then, I have been at peace with myself. I feel a special relationship between myself and my patients. I simply feel from the bottom of my heart that I need to do my best for them. I win their respect every day. Every day my conviction that I am where I belong gets stronger and stronger.

When it happens that one on my patients passes away – and this happens often – I am at peace with myself, for I know that I have done my very best as a doctor for them.

*Real names have not been used.

This “I” Story is part of the Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service special series on care work.

0 thoughts on “Mauritius: The Call”

Isaac Zulu says:

I am interested in reading your articles for research and republishing in a private media; as I am a human rights activist as well as a correspondent.

soyjaudah mungala devi says:

If there were persons who could be as dedicated and caring, our people suffering from HIV/AIDS would not feel left on their own,rejected and dejected.


l’homme est conçu avec et par amour!qu’il naisse ou meurt,il lui faut de l’amour;alleger avec son savoir la douleur physique ou morale k devré subir un mouran,je trouve k cé la mission de tt un chacun

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