Sunday Best – March 3, 2019

This past week I had the honor of visiting with the amazing team of Last Mile Health in Liberia, whose mission is to save lives in the world’s most remote communities. LMH’s vision is a health worker for everyone, everywhere, every day. In Liberia this work supports the government’s national health plan, which includes building access in places where the nearest care would otherwise be many hours or even days away.

I could write forever about the lessons I’ve learned from working with this organization, where the mission is rooted in justice and love, in quality and proximity. This week, three elements were especially vivid.

  • The power of perseverance. When you’re on a long journey in Liberia and you ask how long it will be, the answer inevitably is, “not so far”. That might mean minutes or hours or days, but it is always true. If you keep going, it’s not so far.
  • The power of compounding. If you are working towards something grand like systems change or equity or justice, progress day to day can seem miniscule. But conversation builds to relationship. Experience builds to expertise. Activity builds to trust. Small builds to big.
  • The power of experience. For many of us, there are parts of our work that can seem abstract, charting progress on a spreadsheet or mapping a philosophical theory of change. These are important tools, but only if they reflect the wisdom of collective lived experience. If you’ve seen polio or measles or typhoid firsthand, you will line up for hours to vaccinate your child. If you’ve seen a baby thrive in a place where that used to be rare, you will do a little dance for prenatal vitamins, trained traditional midwives, and professional birth assistants.

Dear friends, when we catch ourselves tiring of the long journey, or feeling the small will never be the big, or thinking we understand something we’ve never actually seen or done…

Let’s keep going. Let’s keep the faith. Let’s keep learning.

Together, we might get somewhere great.

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