Zambia (MNN) — The United Arab Emirates is among one of
the wealthiest countries in the world. Zambia is on the other end of the scale.
[For perspective, consider that in the United States,
Gross Domestic Product (a rough indicator of standard of living–the
market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a
given period) is $47,100, and in the UAE, it's roughly $48,200. Zambia's GDP is $1,200.]
Let's assume a very simplified argument that for young
people living in UAE, there's not much interest in finding out what "poor"
people do. On the other side of the
world, let's assume similarly that there's a prejudice about how "rich" people
live and behave. That's exactly what CURE International set out
to change, by getting people out of their comfort zones and showing them how the "other
As a result, this foray has created a wonderful
relationship between the Zambians and Oasis Hospital (CURE's sister hospital in
the UAE). The warm hearts of the Emirati college students were
clearly shown by their recent project in Zambia.
Oasis Hospital and
the Higher Colleges of Technology in Al Ain teamed up to bring 13 HCT students
to CURE Zambia, the hospital CURE manages in Lusaka. "We thought this would
be a good idea for these students as it is the first time, for many of them, to
travel outside of the Gulf region," said Trey Hulsey, Vice President of
Patient Relations at Oasis Hospital.
Hulsey also noted that "when people leave their
home settings, they're willing to look at things in a new way, regardless of
who we are. We have all these Muslim students leaving the UAE, being in a
new place and seeing Christians in a different way than they have ever seen Christians
before–or in a different setting."
Both male and female
engineering, education, and foundation students were led by staff from Oasis
Hospital and a counselor from the Higher Colleges of Technology in Al Ain. The
students served the staff at CURE Zambia by taking on a large
administrative project, investing five days into sorting and organizing the
complex CURE Zambia filing system. Children and families that were recovering
from surgeries and other medical procedures received toys and visits from
the students as well.
Hulsey said the idea was to provide an interaction between
Muslims and Christians as a way of breaking down barriers and prejudices. It was
cultural exchange that benefited both the Muslim students and Christian staff.
"They can see that it's not
something that we give a return to investors, or that we try to live a better
lifestyle with it, that we use it to help other people who don't have as much
as they do."
Hulsey is hopeful that this will become an annual project. It opened a new dialogue. "One of the most
important things is that we are respectful to the people around us, and at the
same time, faithful to who Jesus is and what we believe He wants from us. These
are the things that allow us to work in places like the UAE, Afghanistan, and
Niger–predominantly Muslim countries."
The trip was an investment in the character of the
students, noted Peter Kyalo, executive director from CURE Zambia. "[He] said to me, ‘You know, Trey,
investing in people takes time, and you don't see an immediate return. So we hope that as these students grow and
move on in their professional careers , they will be in positions of influence
and will remember what kind of things Oasis stands for and does."
On the tour of the children's
ward of the hospital, the group met a young boy with two clubbed feet, an
infant with a deformed leg, and a five-year-old child with hydrocephalus. At
this point, Mohammed, a student on the trip, excused himself from the tour
explaining that he couldn't see anymore of this. At the end of the week, the group
passed out toys donated by a doctor at Oasis Hospital, and Mohammed was the
first to be playing with the children.
It was a time of transformation; students were able to
build character through empathizing with children who were born with
deformities and diseases. Hulsey
said, "We found that when you show people what God's compassion and love looks
like, it's much easier to talk about it at some point in that relationship."
Keep praying for opportunities
for the seeds that were planted to grow. There's more about CURE here.