Jewel Madea, RN

Tell us a little about yourself. What is your background and where are you from?

I grew up in rural Japan in a missionary family. I wanted an international health career, so I went to nursing school and later trained in midwifery and public health.

How did you hear about Global Care Force?

Previously, I had worked and volunteered internationally. During the pandemic, I looked for ways to help with the crisis here in the U.S. and came across COVID Care Force, now Global Care Force.

Have you volunteered with Global Care Force before? If so, when, where and what did you do?

In 2021, I volunteered at a drive-through COVID-19 testing site in Ada, Oklahoma. Because it was January, the full-body PPE outfits helped keep us warm. My roommate tested positive for coronavirus on the first day and went into isolation. I did daily testing for a week, but remained negative, so I was able to work.

Global Care Force began sending volunteers to the southern border this year to work with local shelters to care for immigrants and asylum seekers. Why did you decide to volunteer in El Paso?

I have a deep interest in migrant and refugee issues. Knowing there are over 100 million displaced people in the world, some here at our country’s border, I jumped at the opportunity to get involved.

Immigration is a lightning rod issue, but our call is to care for those in need without distinction. Why do you think that is so important?

For me it’s about basic human rights, which include the rights to education, health care, and freedom from violence. If someone must leave their home and country just to have a decent life, it is my duty to help them.

Tell us about some of the shelter guests you treated? We read about the dangerous and difficult journey they make by foot to try and make a better life for their families. What stories did you hear from those you treated?

There were lots of stories about walking through the jungle. There were rapes, shootings, and drownings. There was no choice but to drink contaminated river water. One man said he saw 83 dead bodies in the jungle.

Are there stories you can share that impacted you the most? What memories will stay with you?

There were lots of families with small children from Venezuela. When someone asked the mom why they left, she motioned to her mouth, “because we wanted to eat. We had no food.”
When someone had a serious medical problem, it was difficult to convince them to go to the hospital. They said they couldn’t pay for it. Far from wanting to use resources for free, they worried about not having money to pay the bill.

Why do you volunteer? What difference has it made in your life?

Volunteering reminds me that all humans are basically alike. The only difference between me and many others is that I was born into fortunate circumstances, and they were born into settings with conflict and instability.

If someone is considering volunteering with Global Care Force, what would you tell them?

You can expect good communication and support from Global Care Force and they welcome feedback from volunteers. They operate frugally, ethically, and are respected by local partners. Global Care Force gave me confidence that their purpose is to serve humanity, and not for profit or glory.

Interested in Volunteering in Ukraine?

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