What do you think is the most misused word currently doing the rounds? “Hero.”
Perhaps, misused isn’t the correct way to put it… maybe it’s a word that isn’t used often enough in a way that’s relatable to me.
As I’ve matured, as I’ve been approaching the big 3-0, I’ve noticed a significant shift in how I see things. Once upon a time, I wouldn’t have blinked an eye when I saw the word ‘hero’ used to describe a celebrity (yes, a tragic self-confessed Buffy: The Vampire Slayer fan right here). These days, using the term like that leaves me with nothing but a question mark in mind.
To me, a real hero isn’t someone who can remember their lines in my favourite TV shows or movies or someone who is famous just for being famous. It’s someone who is making a real difference in the world. A woman like Sister Christine Otai.
“Sr Christine Otai is one of the fiercest and most incredible women I’ve ever met. She’s a real hero of development and has single-handedly saved the lives of thousands of premature babies,” says Madeline Vaughan, from Adara Development.
Now, I’m the first person to admit that the above quote reads as though it’s been perfectly scripted, however I promise you that it actually came about during a phone conversation between Madeline and I. Every conversation about Sr Christine left me wanting to know more about her.
Heading up the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at Kiwoko Hospital in rural Uganda, Sr Christine specialises in high-risk deliveries. Her expertise lies in resuscitation techniques and stabilisation, as well as the safe transfer of newborn infants. She’s also very hands-on in relation to the initiation of medical treatment for the tiniest patients.
Personally, I can’t really imagine Sr Christine having any extra time up her sleeve but this incredible woman’s story reminds me of the following quote I read while trawling the internet (who isn’t addicted to inspirational quotes these days?):
“Gaining knowledge is the first step to wisdom. Sharing it, is the first step to humanity.” - Unknown
While we may never learn who uttered these words, Sr Christine’s work guiding student nurses and other neonatal teams across Uganda epitomises this theory. She spends one-on-one time with the dedicated clinicians in NICUs and maternity wards across the country, encouraging them to continue learning and building their skills in both infant and maternal care. Qualified as a trainer in neonatal resuscitation, Sr Christine has been directly involved in the training of more than 500 nurses and when you think of this in a wider sense, her impact is even more meaningful. After all, each of these nurses play a direct role in those first critical moments as newborn’s take their first breath.