Serving others without personal reward undeniably brings joy. This is an old, old story but never a tired one. It’s a universal experience for those of us who volunteer and work at Maliheh: we feel uplifted by helping others, as we are surrounded by the kindness and compassion of our co-workers. The special privilege of practicing medicine in such a place is difficult to describe but well understood by healthcare workers.
Authenticity is the word that for me best describes being at Maliheh. The medical staff has nothing to prove, nothing to gain, no ladder to climb. We bring our best, most authentic selves to the clinic solely for the sake of the patients. Their needs bring out the best in us and make us quickly navigate through any difficulties.
A special privilege of being at a mostly-volunteer clinic that cares for a large number of immigrants and “working poor” is that we get the best of the best. The doctors, nurses, radiology techs, and other medical professionals who want to give extra effort are among the best. The patients are also among the best. Many recent arrivals were highly educated in their own country. Many low income workers are the ones making America great as they build better lives for their families. Many are the salt of the Earth. We often get to help these patients climb to a better place.