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Well: Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa

Sarah Thebarge

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Biography: science, technology & medicine, Christianity

Sarah Thebarge ponders the intersection of faith and medicine in this insightful narrative of her medical mission trip to Togo, West Africa.

Sarah Thebarge, a Yale-trained physician assistant, nearly died of breast cancer at age twenty-seven, but that did not end her deeply felt spiritual calling to medical missions in Africa. Risking her own health, she moved to Togo, West Africa-ranked by the United Nations as the least happy country in the world-to care for sick and suffering patients.
Serving without pay in a mission hospital, she pondered the intersection of faith and medicine in her quest to help make the world "well."

In the hospital wards, she witnessed death over and over again. In the outpatient clinic, she daily diagnosed patients with deadly diseases, many of which had simple but unavailable cures. She lived in austere conditions and nearly succumbed herself in a harrowing bout with malaria.

She describes her experiences in gripping detail and reflects courageously about difficult and deep human connections-across race, culture, material circumstances, and medical access.

Her experience exemplifies the triumph of surviving in order to share the stories that often go untold. In the end, WELL is an invitation to ask what happens when, instead of asking why God allows suffering to happen in the world, we ask, "Why do we?"

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