Yesterday on the drive to southern Iraq we ran over a pothole. Actually, we ran over several potholes.
The biggest pothole of the day – and the same one that made the loudest noise as our van clung to its parts – was the same one that caused my Iraqi friend next to me to groan and say, “I just want to see change. I want to see something different now that the war’s over. Where are the new roads? Where are the signs that Iraq is changing?”
The next pothole we hit launched us both into a conversation attempting to answer that question. It kept us busy for most of the drive, but we kept coming back to the same 3 immediate signs that Iraq is changing for the better.
Sign #1: Right now, families are traveling from all over southern Iraq to come to this Remedy Mission. Before, families were lining up to leave the country trying to find the doctors that could save their children from their heart defects. Today, families are lining up outside a hospital in southern Iraq, waiting for their child’s chance at a lifesaving heart surgery. For the first time, families don’t need to leave the country to find the cure.
Sign #2: This week, a Sunni family will hand their child over to a Shiite doctor to be saved. In 2007, at the height of the violence in Iraq between Sunni and Shiites, this would have been unheard of. Now, the disease that’s threatening their children is bringing them together!
Sign #3: The notorious “brain drain” that happened when 20,000 of the 34,000 registered doctors in Iraq fled during the war is being reversed. During our last Remedy Mission in northern Iraq we met one of the doctors who had returned. Today we’re not only seeing doctors return, but – thanks to Remedy Missions – the doctors who never left are being equipped and trained, too. Their training is changing the tide of healthcare in Iraq.
So, the next time you hear someone looking for a reason to believe Iraq is changing for the better, start by giving them these 3.
Or better yet, show them the above photo of Rayed smiling before he received his lifesaving heart surgery during Remedy Mission V. Then tell them to stay tuned because Remedy Mission VI is already underway here in southern Iraq!