By: Hiba Ouzaouit (YES 2017 - 2018, Morocco, hosted by World Link in Grimes, IA)
Volunteering for me has always been that one thing that makes me feel alive. It is what makes me feel helpful in society as I give back to the community, and this is one of the best feelings to experience! I was very lucky to feel that sensation again, as I volunteered on July 5 and 6 with a multidisciplinary medical caravan organized by a non-profit organization “Regard d’Espoir” which means “Look of Hope.”
Composed of about 60 volunteers from all over the country - including ophthalmologists, gynecologists, opticians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and organizers - we dedicated our time to serve the people who live in the marginalized village Ait-Ouirra in Beni Mellal, about 300 km from where I live in Marrakech. We worked at a community center and divided the rooms in order to get all different medical specialties settled down.
I volunteered to be a coordinator between ophthalmologists and opticians. I received the patients who had seen the opticians, to take later to see the doctors or directly to the pharmacy to choose the frames for their eyeglasses. After two days of non-stop hard work and marvelous efforts, we treated 1,105 villagers total, and I had direct contact with the 575 whom benefited from ophthalmological services. This experience was such a unique one, and it showed me the reality of my country, especially since I live in a big modern city. I got to live with people of the other side of Morocco who have been really neglected.
Hearing that the closest hospital and pharmacy were 10 km away was frustrating. While big cities are getting congratulated for their progress, there are thousands of people suffering and unheard. I was lucky to speak directly to the people there, and most of them shared a part of their life with me. Volunteering makes my heart bigger every time and makes the hope I hold in humanity grow.