A couple weeks ago, a motor-scooter accident I had on the way to the office gave me a new perspective on asphalt – a very, very close one. God spared me from serious injury, and I was able to pick up the bike and ride it the rest of the way to my destination, but only after leaving a layer of skin on the pavement. I bandaged my open wounds at the office, got a more adequate dressing at home that night, and later in the week – when the wound on my foot didn’t seem to be healing fast enough – walked into an urgent care center for a prescription.
Hardly a catastrophe, but it got me thinking: what if I’d wrecked the bike in Haiti instead of South Florida?
Bikes are a common mode of transportation in much of the developing world. What isn’t so common is good medical care. Or good hygiene. A man earning a few dollars a day isn’t going to spend his precious money on bandages or a clinic visit for simple scrapes and bruises. But those scrapes and bruises, if untreated, can become infected. Even if the victim does go to a doctor, the local health facility might lack the proper equipment and medications to treat his wounds. As a result, a skinned knee can lead to a festering sore, debilitating illness, the loss of a leg and ultimately even death.
My accident served to remind me in a personal way of the importance of Cross’ medical projects – and not just in terms of the big issues such as malaria and HIV, but also the little things we take for granted, like a bandage for a minor injury. We demonstrate Jesus’ love when we pay attention to the needs of the poor…even the seemingly mundane ones.