Field Note #91: Learning Through Illness


I would love to say that when you are doing things for the right reasons nothing bad ever happens. That is, sadly, not true. Everyday, good people, good cities, good dogs or whatever you see as good, can have something bad happen to them. I recently had something “bad” happen. I fell ill while working here in Nepal. I do not think my sickness can be categorized with a natural disaster, a girlfriend leaving, a family member passing or any other legitimately bad thing. Nonetheless, it was bad or at least uncomfortable. It has been another one of those challenges that I have had to take a step back and reflect on and then overcome. Of course, part of the overcoming has to be credited to the massive amounts of ibuprofen, oral rehydration salt and water I consumed.

In the end, reflection makes you realize something so significant about sickness. People in developing countries struggle from getting sick all the time. They get sick from the food they eat because it is not stored properly, cooked properly or treated to remove unknown bacteria. People in developing countries get sick from the water they drink! This comes from the water being contaminated, not treated, not filtered or not available. All that to say, wow, I got sick for a few days after living here for one month, but some people here in Nepal have been living with illnesses for their entire lives. My problems do not seem as bad when I start to think about things like that. I hope not to be sick anymore while I am here, but I know it still may happen. When it does, I will just have to keep reminding myself about the struggles of others. While I am physically down, I need to be spiritually up, and sending prayers or just good thoughts out for every other person that is sick around the globe.

Thankfully, I have the opportunity to go one step further. I get to serve with this community of people trying to limit sickness in places around the globe through Wine To Water. What a blessing it is to be partnering with people and organizations for the betterment of a community’s health. If you’re spiritually sick, physically sick or presently perfect, remember there are whole communities out there who are struggling today, but may not have the same access to the resources you have to make any of it better. Wine To Water is actively working to connect resources to these needs and to alleviate at least some of the bad that is found around the world.


- Pavan, Nepal IPM