Interview with Volunteer: Walter

Experienced and Energetic Volunteer – Walter

Walter has been actively participating in overseas humanitarian medical missions since 2010. He joined Health in Action (“HIA”) in 2011 as both share similar values. “After joining HIA, my major responsibility was working in Manila’s slums. I firmly believe that every community has its own self-care ability. Through this opportunity, it allows me and other volunteers to foster the community well-being, share knowledge and provide necessary resources to Sawata, a terrific place in Manila,” said Walter. Walter travelled back and forth to Manila for thirteen weekends consecutively. With the joint effort of Walter, Hong Kong volunteers and the locals, the stinky and garbage filled river in Sawata has been transformed to a clean living space. As a result, Walter was recognised as “Shui Gor” (specialist in water works) .

Walter conducting needs assessment in Solukhumbu, Nepal
Walter conducting needs assessment in Solukhumbu, Nepal

Shui Gor: It is a bliss to serve the underprivileged

Compared with those living under difficult situations, Walter thinks he is blessed. He never hesitates to take part in humanitarian medical missions, not because of fame and gain, nor for religious belief, but for the enjoyment of helping people in need. During the process, he also reflects on the meanings of life and society. “Volunteering for HIA broadens my horizons and inspires me a lot. I am a newcomer among other humanitarian volunteers such as Esther, Bea, Joyce and Mr. Chun. I am happy to serve people with HIA brothers and sisters!” His modesty earns a lot of respect.

Walk on, Walter! No pain?!

“Last year, I went to Nepal with Red Cross for emergency evaluation and medical support after the Nepal Earthquake. In January this year, HIA asked me to go to another quake-hit area for post-disaster community health assessment. I accepted the task immediately but I regretted very soon. Solukhumbu (Editor’s note: Solukhumbu is in northeast Nepal), is a 4000-meter high mountain that could only be reached on foot. That was a great challenge for me!” For a man who did not hike for years and with a half-year long knee pain, Walter worried that his health condition would affect the mission. “I was seized with a cramp after the first day of long hiking, but I felt no more sore the next day and the rest of the journey. It was really like a miracle!”

“I have a persevering will to work more on after-disaster medical support. Although we cannot save all the lives, as a nurse, we still can give our professional cares to victims and their families. We need to let them believe that there are still love and hope even when facing merciless disaster.”

Psychological healing is equally important

”When I see the family members of victims crying desperately or witness victims passing away painfully, it is hard to face those helpless looks of family members, whose expressions are just like ‘What can I do to help him/her?’. We definitely could do more!” Walter thinks that the post-disaster treatment should be highly encouraged. (Editor’s note: the purpose of the treatment is to soothe the pain of dying victims by medicine and reduce their physiological pain. Besides, it also provides counselling service to relieve fear of family members of victims.)

Expectation on young generation

“I am excited to know that objectives of the mission have been achieved throughout this operation, and new community health projects are confirmed to be carried out in the future. I am gratified by the passion for humanity of the young adults such as Suzanne and Angus, they also have clear mindsets and life goals. I hope the new generations can broaden their horizons and offer helping hands to those in need, ” said Walter. (Editor’s note: Suzanne and Angus are medical students from Medical Outreachers, and they were members of the Solukhumbu Operation in January.)

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