Into Africa, Out of Academia: A Doctor’s Memoir
Kwan Kew Lai
In 2006, Kwan Kew Lai left her full-time position as a professor in the United States to provide medical humanitarian aid to the remote villages and the war-torn areas of Africa. This memoir follows her experiences from 2006 to 2013 as she provided care during the HIV/AIDs epidemics, after natural disasters, and as a relief doctor in refugee camps in Kenya, Libya, Uganda and in South Sudan, where civil war virtually wiped out all existing healthcare facilities.
Throughout her memoir, Lai recounts intimate encounters with refugees and internally displaced people in camps and in hospitals with limited resources, telling tales of their resilience, unflinching courage, and survival through extreme hardship. Her writing provides insight into communities and transports readers to heart-achingly beautiful parts of Africa not frequented by the usual travelers. This is a deeply personal account of the huge disparities in the healthcare system of our “global village” and is a call to action for readers to understand the interconnectedness of the modern world, the needs of less developed neighbors, and the shortcomings of their healthcare systems.