Nearly a month has passed since my participation in the First Mission of ReSound For Africa, a project that ReSound, in association with World Medical Aid, has decided to create in order to carry out training and provide diagnostic equipment and hearing aids for the Chaaria Mission Hospital in Kenya.
Before leaving, I had no expectations about how it could be: it was the first mission, the beginning of what would be the future for ReSound For Africa. We did not know how many people we would examine or what condition we would find them in. I just knew that I could contribute, though in a very small way, to help hearing-impaired children and adults to hear better.
Once we had reached Chaaria, I felt as if I had landed on another planet. It was a first-aid structure amid a forest, on a corner at the intersection of unpaved roads. Destitution and poverty were everywhere. However, the people had a noble appearance and showed great dignity.
With my fellow travellers, Daniele and Marco, together with World Medical Aid, we spent those 3 days both training local medical personnel and examining and carrying out audiometric tests on patients of all ages, and fitted some 50 hearing aids. The emotion was strong when we saw people with smiling eyes and happy expressions because they were hearing the most common sounds again, but even stronger and more exciting was the emotion of seeing children hearing their parents’ voices, or mothers hearing their children’s voices again. In such a moment, you are aware that you have shared with those people some of your good luck. It was like making peace with the whole world.
I thank ReSound for having given me this opportunity. It was a very powerful experience, but at the same time it was wonderful and allowed me to understand the importance and the difference that small gestures can make, even if they are sometimes underrated. Giving a hearing aid is a small gesture that filled those who received it with boundless joy. I realised that what we do has much more value than what we have or can buy. And the truest thing I learned is that, when you experience difficulties, you can much better appreciate the value of what you have. From this experience, I brought home the thanks and smiles that I saw and received in those short but eventful days, and I am aware that there is still much work to do and that this is just the beginning of the ReSound for Africa project. Therefore I hope this is only a prelude to the next mission.