Nostalgia is a flavour that can be savoured only in retrospect.
I have often (and I do mean often) bemoaned the state of my medical internship. I've often glanced enviously at my corporate counterparts, imagining the glorious salaries that they were commanding while having clean toilets to use.
Perhaps the sweetness of an experience can only be felt once the madness has passed and given way to a moment (and I do mean moment) of reflection.
Over the past few years I have met patients who didn't have the R8 that it takes to catch a taxi back from the hospital. Eight rand - that's almost a cappuccino. I have seen old ladies cry about one son being on drugs, while two sons were on ARV's. I have been moved by young, strong and able men who would do anything to have a stable job... anywhere.
I've seen how apartheid has raped the social structure that was meant to support individuals, while being exposed to a 'lost generation' , forgotten by politicians and ignored by society.
I have fortunately been allowed into that personal space surrounding a human being , and with guilt I admit that I did not always use this opportunity constructively.
I have seen certain government policies work : I am in awe of poly-clinics (a one-stop-health care-shop). I have also seen the disastrous effects of mixed health-care messages.
I have met AIDS, spat at it and have vowed to never reconcile.
I pray that the Almighty always keeps us close enough to the ground, that we may have the ability to almost-empathise with the 'poorest of the poor', and that He will open up channels for us to help alleviate their plight.
My comfort-bubble has been utterly shaken
for this I'd like to thank ... internship.