15 January, 2009

Dr. Mukwege

Dr. Denis Mukwege, 53, the amazing doctor who runs the Panzi Hospital was honored with African of the Year Award, by the Nigerian newspaper the Daily Trust.

Mukwege "accompanied his father on his pastoral visits where he first had contact with patients. His first impression was that he wanted to help the patients in addition to praying with them, to assist them medically." (Panzi Website) 10 new patients come to the hospital daily in need of medical care for gynaecological trauma they have - some are from child birth, most are from the extreme rape that plagues the Eastern Congo.

You can see Dr. Mukwege on this 60 minutes video about the Congo. I had the privilege of hearing him speak at the conference on the Congo I attended last year. This man is one of the most humble people I have encountered. He is there, in the heart of the conflict, helping women recover physically, emotionally, psychologically and mentally because he has to. It's not a question of fame or prestige or saving people - wrong is being committed and he can help with the expertise he has acquired. It is the right thing to do and so he does it. The conflict is deeply personal for him. He treats the women of the Congo with deep respect, something that is not being done elsewhere.

My friend commented, "Hopefully honoring him will make a statement that you don’t have to murder, rape, and pillage to be great." He is the opposite of what is wrong in the Congo. Dr. Mukwege seriously deserves the Nobel Peace prize for peace. We need more people like him, who will do what is right to help others even when it is dangerous or messy or hard. Dr. Mukwege is a true hero, is a true leader, is a good person and I am glad he is being recognized for it. I only wish I had anything to offer and could serve beside him. He is a fantastic example of Christ with skin on - of how we should all treat our fellow man.