Well: Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa

Well: Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa

by Sarah Thebarge


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781455553198
Publisher: FaithWords
Publication date: 11/07/2017
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 417,209
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

SARAH THEBARGE is an international speaker and the author of The Invisible Girls, named a World Magazine 2013 Notable Book. Sarah earned her physician assistant degree at Yale and was studying journalism at Columbia when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. In spite of nearly losing her life to cancer, she went on to care for refugees in the United States and provide medical care to people living in the developing world. In addition to practicing medicine in Togo, she served in the Dominican Republic and started a clinic in Kenya for children who lost their parents to AIDS. Sarah is a spokesperson for Compassion International. She returns to San Francisco when she is not traveling the world.

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Well: Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in West Africa 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Teadrinker More than 1 year ago
Sarah Thebarge is a Yale-trained physician assistant. Well is her story of her spiritual and vocational calling to medical missions work in Togo, West Africa. Well is a different book than most books that I have read. This book is not divided into chapters. Well is Thebarge's story told pretty much cover to cover of her trip to Togo to work at the Hospital of Hope, a conservative Baptist missions-run hospital in Mango, Togo. Thebarge shares her medical challenges in treating the local people in great detail. She also shares her spiritual challenges and takeaways from the experience, along with the physical toll on her body and mind from the experience. Love Looks Around was my big takeaway from Well. I may not be able to go to a missions hospital and work in my lifetime, but I am able to look around with a love that comes from God and see what I can do to love those around me as I believe God would want me to. I am glad I read the book for the spiritual takeaways. I also felt Thebarge shared with candor and honesty her experiences which showed that missions work isn't as glamorous as one might imagine. At the same time, I have kind of a weak stomach for medical trauma so some of the details were a bit too detailed for me. I think someone in the medical field would probably appreciate those details more than I did. All in all, Well is an interesting look at medical missions and a book that I would recommend, especially to those interested in this field. I received this book from FaithWords/Hachette Book Group. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.
Comunc8 More than 1 year ago
What a story! I am not sure how one recovers from such a trip. WELL takes the reader through the emotional highs and lows of Thebarge's time in a developing country in an attempt to save lives with the resources and skills available. Facing challenges of language differences, cultural divides, grueling work hours, punishing climate, and perhaps some naivete, Thebarge works at the Hospital of Hope as a volunteer for three months, facing the death of her Togolese patients on nearly a daily basis. Her honesty and vulnerability about the pain of not being able to save lives that could easily be saved if they were in the U.S. take the reader into the desperation of Togo and the hopelessness that is often present. And yet she continues to turn to her faith to find the strength to soldier forth and not give in -- to find meaning and purpose in the work she is doing, even when she questions whether she is making enough difference in the country of Togo. As an instructor of a course dealing with the ethics of international aid, there was one particular story that that resonated with me. After a particularly difficult evening of multiple deaths of premature infants and an 18 year-old, Sarah is about to leave Togo early because she can take no more. After reflecting on some comments from others and a podcast, she realizes something about her place and purpose in Togo. She writes, "With our physical presence we remind the Togolese people that they were not forgotten or lost or abandoned. They were not invisible to their loving, compassionate Parent." I travel with students to developing countries. Often these students don't have many skills that allow them to provide a great number of services, but I remind them that a part of our purpose is to let the poor we are visiting know that they matter and that they are important. To sit and hold a hand, to listen, to give a hug.... These things are important. People matter! WELL demonstrates this point. International aid is an imperfect science. No single book can capture the immense complexities that are involved. WELL captures the human experience from one volunteer's perspective in difficult circumstances and provides a glimpse into the many inscrutable, perplexing issues of international aid.
Allison Wardrip More than 1 year ago
I was first introduced to Sarah Thebarge when I read her memoir, The Invisible Girls (2013). That story was so powerful, beautifully written, and heart-wrenching. When I heard she had written a new book called WELL, I knew immediately I would have to read it. I devoured the book in a few days and was incredibly taken with it. Sarah's writing is deep, heartfelt, passionate, real, transparent, and overall, so articulate and moving. In the pages of WELL, Sarah takes us on her journey to Togo and shares the stories of the people she cares for in a hospital in rural West Africa. The stories of suffering and loss, healing, hope, and new life are astounding. I found myself caught up in the stories…moved to tears at the suffering and loss, and fully experiencing Sarah's tenderness with those frail patients who were leaving this earthly life; she was literally the hands and feet of Jesus to these fragile ones. I also found myself laughing out loud during lighter moments of humor and joy, such as playing soccer with the sweet “FIFA Boys” in the nearby village. This book has too many incredibly thought-provoking experiences, stories, and reflections, to mention here. However, at least one takeaway I had from this book is that it challenged my own thoughts and attitudes on suffering, compassion, and serving others. In the midst of a serious bout of malaria, Sarah examines the nature of compassion. Sarah writes, “One night I woke up in the early hours, sweaty and thirsty, unable to fall back asleep. As I lay there in the dark, I started thinking about the word compassion, which comes from the Latin words co, which means “with,” and passion, from the word pati, which means “to suffer.” So the word compassion literally means “to suffer with.” I had always thought of compassionate people as people with tender hearts. But after my Togo experience, I realized that in order to practice compassion, your heart needs to be tender but the rest of you— including your emotions and your commitment and your will— needs to be tough as nails. Compassion, in its most extreme forms, is not cute; it is costly. It isn’t always sweet; sometimes it is downright scary. Compassion makes you suffer and sweat and smell. It requires you to pour yourself out, sometimes, until there’s nothing left. Togo gave me a new appreciation for Jesus. Instead of having sympathy for the human condition, Emmanuel, God With Us, came down to suffer with and for us. He took the cup of hardship, loss, grief, pain, and death, and he drank it to the dregs. Maybe, I thought as I lay in the dark that night in Togo, maybe Jesus was calling me to that same level of compassion, calling me to love the world at a great personal cost that I never would’ve chosen if it was up to me. To take the cup of suffering and drink it all, down to the dregs. I didn’t know yet what radical compassion would look like for me when I got back to the United States, but in Togo, when the sun came up the next morning, for me, having compassion meant picking up my nearly empty water bottle, walking over to the clinic, and seeing patients in a malodorous, muggy exam room while I was hot and thirsty and tired. It meant sharing with the Togolese people in this hardship, drinking the cup of suffering down to the dregs. Down to the very last drop.” These are powerful words. I am challenged and encouraged and “spurred on toward love and good deeds” after reading these words. In short, GO GET THIS BOOK!!!!
Mary DeMuth More than 1 year ago
Well shook me from my comfortable suburban life and thrust me smack dab into Jesus’ heart for those who suffer. I was back in Africa, learning deeper lessons about trust, loss, and the God who walks alongside us in trauma. I’m grateful for Sarah Thebarge’s honest portrayal, her grappling with the questions we’d rather not ask, and her ability to agonize with the broken. I’ll be thinking about this book a long time.
OakTreeReviews More than 1 year ago
Well: Healing Our Beautiful, Broken World from a Hospital in South Africa by Sarah Thebarge is a touching memoir about the author’s experience as a physician assistant in West Africa. Thebarge is a skilled writer, using her words to beautifully illustrate true events and make her story come to life. Because Thebarge describes medical scenarios in detail, the book is very informative from a medical standpoint. It is also a culturally educational book, and I learned a lot more about the culture of Togo. Well is a great book for people who have a heart for world missions. Throughout the story, Sarah aims to achieve wellness for others – not only physical wellness, but spiritual wellness. Sarah’s love for Jesus Christ and her desire to spread his love is evident. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Sarah’s amazing, inspirational story, and I loved reading about the lives that she impacted. *I received this book for review*