What is my purpose here?

My goal for this trip to East Timor was to teach the local doctors and students. I have worked in the US as a pediatrician for a few years and wanted to share some of my experiences. Unfortunately, I am starting to realize that may not be the most effective use of my time here.

I have only seen many of the diseases here in limited quantities. I am not qualified to teach a doctor in rural Asia (who has had a very good education) about treatment of tuberculosis, malaria, dysentery or malnutrition. The small cohort of patients I treated in San Francisco with tropical diseases does not compare to what is seen here in one month.

I have changed my objective. I have now joined the team in the trenches, see patients on my own and try to ease the burden of the local doctors. In the process, I am learning quite a bit too.

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