Saturday, 28 May 2016


We all know what happens when you put a plant by the window, it grows towards the light. I’m looking at a plant doing that right now. Its leaves are, literally, stretched towards the light. It’s like they couldn’t get any closer if they tried. They are desperate for it. Desperate for a taste of life.

Just yesterday I turned the plant around. I faced it towards the wall, back towards the light, ‘face’ towards… not very much. Nothing life giving, anyway. And, do you know – it was only a few hours before I could see those leaves turning back towards the light. They simply cannot bear to be away from it. They just can’t do it. They’re desperate.

I wish I looked like that. I wish you could look at me and see me desperate. Desperately turned towards the light. I wish,  if you took me on a good day and stripped away all that was good and picked me up and turned me away from the light – I wish, I wish you would find me desperately turning back towards the light.

I wish, if we found ourselves in some lifeless conversation… if we felt like death had got it’s hold… if things were being torn down or gossip was spreading its infective spew, if light was not present and hopelessness was staring right at us… I wish, I wish I could be the one to pick up my chair and put my back to the darkness. I wish you could see me stretching towards light, towards truth and grace. If only I was like those sun worshippers - their care and attention to make sure that sunlight reaches every part – that not a minute is wasted in the shade of a passing cloud. I wish my heart was so attentive. I wish it would shudder at the hint of darkness and find its place in the light. I wish.

And yet sometimes, I just sit staring at the darkness. For hours. Or days. I sit lifeless. I seem to feed on it. And funnily enough, I get weak. We don’t do so well without the light.

Sometimes a friend along the journey comes and shares some light and before you know it, you feel life seeping back again.

But sometimes there’s a humongous choice. Sometimes I have to actually get up, intentionally turn myself around and look for the light….

And then other times, light and life descend from nowhere.

The glistening twinkles of sunlight falling on the ocean blue, the crashing waves at 501, the chirping bird high above in a tree, the riches you find in so called poverty, the redemptive song that fills the Hospital corridors, the hope that literally shines through blood soaked bandages and casted legs or the thought that maybe, after nearly 2 years on this beautiful island, we did make a difference… sometimes light and life just seep back in.

917 Max Fac Surgeries
473 Women’s Health Surgeries
238 Plastic Surgeries
817 General Surgeries
162 Paediatric Orthopaedic Surgeries
Over 12,000 Dental patients

Light into darkness for 1000s of lives. 10s of 1000s of collective years of suffering. Ended.

Not to mention the 1000s trained and mentored in ways that will enhance their ability to provide safe surgical care to thousands more.

Or the surgical clinic that was renovated and filled with expertly trained Malagasy nurses who will go on to treat some of the 2,000 new cases of obstetric fistula that will form their ugly selves here in the coming year. Light sometimes looks like hope. Justice even.

Madagascar’s population is one of the poorest globally and there are approximately 15,000 children and adults disabled from clubfoot, with an estimated 1,000 children born here with the condition each year. The cost of treatment is often prohibitive for many families with an average income.  And so what a joy to be a part of Tamatave’s first ever clubfoot clinic born right here –  and with the support of International NGO, Miraclefeet, the work will go on for years to come. These beautiful feet will turn to the light. They will know what it is to walk and run and play… they will do the things they were created for. Light sometimes looks like redemption. Like new feet dancing in the rain.

What beauty He lets us hold.

And so, as we close our time here on this rich island of Madagascar, we are already in full swing with plans for Benin. The hope we promised in 2014 that got snatched by the scare of Ebola will be restored this coming August. We will deliver the package of light with care. It will be generous, it will be full of love and, I pray, will deposit oodles of light into 1000s of more lives.

May we turn to the light. Desperate.

And, until the day comes when we don’t need to stretch anymore, may you be found drenched in the restorative, hope filled power of light.

Love. KWW

This is me with my incredible Hospital Leadership Team

Check out these beautiful short videos if you want to see some more....

New feet

new life

new freedom

Thanks for letting us share in your beauty, Madagascar xxx