Whose Box?

Fragile contents

I've been thinking about the story of Pandora's box and wondering what her reaction might have been as all of the world's problems poured out of it. Did she see the last item, Hope?

It seems as if a similar box is sitting on my lap with the lid removed and its contents fall out in an unpredictable order. This box of memories surprises me with its clarity about events from years ago.

As a young woman, I spent 5 years living and working in Portugal, Mozambique, and Rhodesia (Zimbabwe). My experiences shattered any preconceived notions about other countries and cultures and released me to grow into the person I am now. Despite the many challenges, I knew joy and love in ways that I never knew before. Problems arose for me when I returned to the US. No one knew or cared about the wars I'd lived with or how hard it was to cope with secret police and informers. No one knew how distressing it was to provide health care to critically ill patients, especially children, with minimal resources. At one point, there was not an aspirin in the entire country.

The hardest experience was the lack of interest among friends, family and other acquaintances. I was expected to fit into the social milieu of the day and only share amusing anecdotes. I married and continued to work in international health, especially to strengthen education of health professionals. Now the stories tumble out and are likely to appear here - a new kind of adventure.

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