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Those with less truly give more

“Some years ago, I went traveling on my own to visit my grandfather in Russia. He lived in a small village, so I had to go by the old, local trains that cross the enormous deserted Russian landscapes to reach him. At some point along the way, I started to notice discomfort in my body. An intense pain started developing in my abdomen, I wanted to scream. It got to the point where I couldn't hide it from the other passengers. They got worried about me, telling me it seemed as if my appendix was about to burst. At the next stop - in some random village in the middle of nowhere - they took me to the hospital.

Once there, I couldn't believe my own eyes. Filthy bed sheets with blood stains from the last patient on it. Not to mention the odors. Stray cats running around in every room. The restrooms were an absolute mess, wet mud was to compensate for the lack of an actual floor, and there was dirt everywhere. There was a surgery on the first floor, so there was no light on the second; they couldn't risk a power cut. The doctors told me all the patients need to bring their own toilet paper and soap, but I didn't have either. It was just like I would imagine an old, dilapidated prison. 

I had to stay at the hospital for several days. At first, I was scared, in a lot of pain, unsure of what was going on with my body, and alone. But my condition slowly improved, and as I spent time at that hospital I got to know the nurses and the people working there - and my whole view changed. I was so humbled. They were working long and exhausting shifts to care for us patients with all of their hearts while earning just the bare minimum in return. The government's budget for public hospitals in Russia is very limited, but regardless of the lack of resources they carried on with a spirit like no other. It was an eye-opener for me. Their dedication to compassion was unique, so sensitive to our needs that I eventually almost felt at home. I left healthy and full of gratitude after almost a week. Every year since I've sent a bit of money to that hospital. Thanking them for the effort they give, the love they share, and for the lessons they taught me. For showing me the truth of how those who have less, truly give more."

Anastasia, The Netherlands

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