2010, 14 years before departure - New Delhi, India
Hearing. View. Touch. Taste. The smell. Each of the five senses is multiplied tenfold on Indian soil. Both splendid and nightmarish, the scenery is total. You never come back completely unscathed from this trip. Memories run through my head, good as well as bad… Life is swarming, scooters bellowing, pedestrians throng, cows so sacred take precedence over traffic.
The country of a thousand colors sparkles in the sun but the flame is extinguished when we look to the side. Women, children, babies, old people, from strollers to wheelchairs, begging is present. They are numerous and yet no one sees them. They pile up on the side, abandoned and left to their own devices. The caste system, although outdated, has left deep scars on society.
The multitude of souls, concentrated in these large asphalt cities, mechanically created a fierce competition for survival, leaving no room to help others.
For a 15-year-old French teenager who has never had a real lack in his life, the shock is severe. Much too rough. The misery, the inequalities, the babies that we pass from arm to arm the better to beg are memories that contrast with the beauty of the Taj Mahal. 2 weeks will have been enough to convince me of the benefits of working for its forgotten populations. Return to France. It's time to think about how to help. Humanitarian aid is vast. As and when the ideas are jostling
and one takes over: working for a doctor without borders? International association, at the heart of the most tragic events, financially independent, apolitical. This is what I like. Let's go to the medical school! 10 years of intensive training to achieve a goal!
The origins of the 2/4 project: Benin
2016, 8 years before departure - Zinvié, Benin
1st milestone crossed. The first year of medicine. In two times of course. Here we are 219 in this promotion out of the 1400 first year candidates to continue the course. The second year rhymes with relief and festivities but not only! It is also the only year of the course where we are given time to have extra-curricular activities. It is the moment for those who wish it to experiment the associative world and in particular the humanitarian one. This is how a small group of six students took over the responsibility of one of the associations of the Rouen Faculty of Medicine: Ben'Enfance.
Objective: € 10,000 is the amount collected each year by this association thanks to the motivation of its members, campaign funds, the sale of cakes, the organization of parties, etc. The goal is to raise funds during the year for a field hospital headed in the middle of nowhere in West Africa: the hospital of Zinvié.
After ten months of efforts to collect donations, we left for three weeks there. First atypical trip for many of us. A little-known country in the heart of a continent plagued by stereotypes.
The arrival is stifling at night. A crowd is gathered behind the gates of the airport. Ten thousand euros in small denominations distributed in our six pieces of luggage, wherever we are, serenity takes a hit.
After a few minutes of wandering, we find our contact there, Father Marius. One of those men who speaks little but who acts. Astonishing simplicity for this character with multiple functions. At the same time surgeon, director of the hospital and priest, benevolence embodies it.
These three weeks lost in the middle of Benin will allow us to put our modern medicine into perspective and to recognize the luck we have in our Western countries.
There it lacks everything. Prevention, curative, health personnel, equipment. We treat as best we can and have always done so. Amputations without general anesthesia. Children who lose their lives without having been able to benefit from pediatric resuscitation.
The list is long but despite all that, the smile and the benevolence are there. The joy of living, despite everything. A taste of the African continent.
The origins of the project 3/4: Indonesia
2017, 7 years before departure - Jakarta, Indonesia
4th year of medicine, it's progressing! During this time, my sister Noémie continues to explore the world after completing her studies. Sent by an association that fights for the integration of disadvantaged young people into working life - LP4Y - here she is embarked for a full year in a slum in Jakarta. His mission ? For a year, learn the basics of English, management, IT to young people aged 14 to 22 from the slum in order to give them a chance to get out of this ultra underprivileged environment.
For twelve months, she became an English teacher, psychological support, banker, social worker, project manager in an unknown country whose language she did not even master!
Impressed by the difficulty of the task, I went there for a while to see the scene firsthand. Everything is good to take and learn for these young people who have barely known school and even less a health system. My turn to show my teaching skills and the basics of medicine.
How to perform cardiac massage? What to do in front of an epileptic seizure or a simple vagal discomfort? I hope I managed to pass on a minimum of good advice during these few days!
The pedagogy side is starting to take up space in my head. What if it were possible to combine medicine and prevention through school for underprivileged populations like this one? The missions of Médecin Sans Frontière are often missions focused on curative care, emergency care to avoid disaster ... luckily they are there elsewhere! They are often villagers who have never had access to medicine and who, as a last resort, walk long distances to reach a hospital structure.
But is it possible to go further upstream to avoid getting there? Several outlines are emerging.
The origins of the 4/4 project
2018, 6 years before departure - South East Asia, from Vietnam to Myanmar.
Half of the medical course full, adventure calls me. I allow myself two months of break to breathe between two years of stifling revisions. The challenge has been launched: hitchhiking South East Asia up as close as possible to Europe. 2 months later, from VietNam, and after having crossed Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, here I am in Burma, now Myanmar. The border is closed to enter India and I must return to finish these long studies. But whatever ! The trip was more rewarding than ever. Discovering a range of different cultures has been an incredible joy.
Cross a border. We are changing countries. But not completely. Similarities persist between the two neighboring cultures, then the resemblances eventually give way to differences before approaching a new frontier.
This vision of travel gave me new desires ... why not take a trip around the world? Travel long and slowly, to the rhythm of meetings. The idea is attractive, but when and how? Hitchhiking ? Too exhausting. By plane ? Not stimulating enough. Then, little by little, the idea comes ...
Why not associate a world tour with my dream of becoming a doctor without borders? An itinerant medical practice that travels from country to country, year after year, joining associations that work for the good health of the inhabitants.
To be able to be autonomous to go to the end of the most improbable paths, to inaccessible places where many people do not have access to health, while relying on the wealth of local NGOs as a rear base.