Mercy Global Concern

A Mercy Immersion in Guyana: A Reflection

Reports: May 19, 2018

At the invitation of Sr Karen Schneider MD, I had the privilege of travelling to Guyana and participating in Mercy Medical Mission. Witnessing numerous works of Mercy in Georgetown and then participating in the Medical Mission in the Interior of Guyana was a profound experience and one which I hold with great gratitude. Sisters of Mercy have a wonderful heritage of creating foundations where there is a need for education, health and other pastoral activities. Guyana is no exception. It is humbling to see the works of Mercy that have developed over many decades and that respond directly to a need.

Medical Missions Team, John Jopkins Hospital Baltimore
Front row: L-r: Karen Schneider rsm, Angela Reed rsm

Currently the Guyana Sisters of Mercy and partners are active in numerous ministries throughout the country including the Mercy hospital, Mercy Wings which is a vocational and day care school, Mercy Resident Care for the Aged, St John Bosco Orphanage a safe house for women who have been trafficked and various other educational programs. It was evident throughout these ministries that there is a strong commitment to the dignity of each person and a desire for each one to flourish.

Ministering alongside a committed medical mission team made up of pediatric doctors, nurses and community workers, some of whom were Sisters of Mercy, was a great honor. For many children, their encounters with the medical mission team enabled them to have immediate treatment and care. Other children were referred to Georgetown Mercy Hospital for further tests. All in all, over 1500 Amerindian children were screened and treated for any medical concerns. As we travelled by boat along the Pomeroon River I observed the magnificent rainforest and beautiful surroundings in which many of the Guyanese Amerindians live. I became acutely aware of the need to preserve such an environment and was mindful of the risk that extractive industries pose to this remote, largely untouched location. I was also aware that back at UN headquarters the Indigenous Peoples Forum was being held. This forum brings Indigenous people throughout the world to the global table, where Indigenous concerns as well as visions for the future are shared with Member States and other stakeholders. Colleen Cloonan (MGA UN) was present at the forum and participated in many dialogues.

As our work at the UN aims to reflect the grassroots ministry of mercy, there is much to learn from this experience. I am mindful of the oft quoted ‘leave No-one behind’ from the UN 2030 Agenda and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. I am disturbed that many in our world do not have free, clean, potable water to drink. I am painfully aware that many indigenous people do not have access to affordable medical supplies and treatment. Most significantly, I am reminded of the great disparity between the rich and those rendered poor.

I am also moved by the compassion and care offered to so many in our Mercy ministries. This is a great sign of hope and provides the impetus to continue to advocate for a more inclusive and equal world. I would like to especially thank the Sisters of Mercy Guyana for their warm welcome and openness. I would also like to acknowledge and thank Sr Karen Schneider and her inspirational medical team from Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Special thanks also to Mercy Sisters; Mary McGory, Nidia Quispe and Barbara Ghiel.

Mercy Global Action continues to bring Mercy grassroots experience to the global agenda, seeking to address the root causes of poverty which are so often steeped in discriminatory economic and social systems that marginalize and render people poor.

Messages to: Angela Reed rsm - MIA Coordinator at the UN - Mercy Global Action

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