Thinking Bigger Than Yourself

During the first day of work on our collaborative course statement, I believe it was Adaeze that stated that the course statement focus should encompass “thinking more than yourself, bigger than yourself”.

 I truly think this addresses a problem that we constantly encountered in our readings and now one that we face when undertaking solving the side effects of medical voluntourism. Throughout Medical Apartheid we consistently saw doctors and researchers put their own research and goals above the lives and dignity of others. In Clay’s Ark we read as Blake sacrificed the well-being of a nation in order to find the cure for his own disease and his own daughters. In Zulus, we watched as Alice killed off the entire human race in an instant decision made by her with not much regard to the lives of others. Now in medical voluntourism we saw many instances where people put completing their own goals over the needs of others, such as when high school students volunteered only in hopes to build their resume or when people posted on social media in hope to be praised for the volunteer work they did. One common outcome when you put yourself above others is that a majority of the time, the other people suffer. Our goal for the collective course statement should include not only guidelines for how to act while volunteering, but also encourage the volunteers on how to think in a way that encourages the volunteer to think of the influence of their actions on others before they do it. We should encourage volunteers to “think more than yourself, bigger than yourself”.

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