Who are your skills for?
As a professional
You have acquired something of significant valuable
And you are equipped to solve problems,
Spent years to gain mastery
Overcome numerous challenges
And now you have a capacity to create change in the world with dexterity-
Ultimately what you now possess is a gift.
Something to offer
Something with which to craft the world in a particular way.
This gift of yours…
Who is it for?
Who are you seeking to serve
With that wonderful gift in your hands?by Mufudzi Chihambakwe
Dr. Mufudzi Chihambakwe is the Clinical Coordinator for World Spine Care’s new BH3 Clinic in Gabarone, Botswana. He previously volunteered with Dr. Shannon Bloch as an associate volunteer at the Shoshong Village clinic.
I met Dr. Shannon Bloch in May 2018 at a World Spine Care (WSC) conference in Gaborone, Botswana about one week before my graduation from chiropractic school. Our shared interest in the work WSC was doing for underserved communities had caused our paths to meet. She had crossed the Atlantic and I had had a much shorter journey across the border from South Africa. She had come to Botswana to be a volunteer, giving up months of income to serve communities that had little access to spine care in two villages in Botswana, namely Mahalapye and Shoshong. Shannon had been to Africa before, when she had volunteered in South Africa at a hospital in Cape Town a few years prior and she’d planned that this trip to Botswana would not be her last visit to this part of the world.
Soon after my graduation I moved to Botswana where Shannon had already spent time in the WSC house and clinics. She had the right kind of temperament for the job – a steady commitment to the work and yet an openness to the inevitable change of plans that would come up regularly. During that time, my practicing license was not in place for me to practice in Botswana, so I assumed a supporting role for Shannon who saw all the patients while I did paperwork and helped run the rest of the clinic. Even though she carried the majority of the weight of the clinical work, and had more experience than I did, she was always gracious and often included me in her clinical process. After 3 months of working together we’d become a pretty well-oiled machine.
Shannon left Botswana in July 2018. Her plan had always been to return to Botswana with her family and to continue to support the work in providing spine care to the underserved in Botswana. However, just under a year later, she passed on suddenly, leaving us all in shock. She was only 26.
Shannon’s family has committed to honoring Shannon’s memory by establishing Giving Back Health Abroad, a charity devoted to providing spine care to underserved communities in Botswana. In April 2021, they established a new spine care clinic in Gaborone, Botswana located within an existing government clinic providing spine care to the local community. This is the kind of work that Shannon had thrown herself wholeheartedly into and now it is my privilege to be able to continue this work in her honor.
Shannon knew that as a chiropractor, she had a gift in her hands, something valuable to share with the world. And she chose to share that gift with the people for whom the burden of spinal disease is the greatest. Our hope is that we can continue this work to share this same gift and inspire others to do the same.