I will start this blog with an outline of a few things you need to understand; 1. I love helping people. 2. I adore traveling. 3. Science rocks. 4. I won the “worst writer” award in the third grade yearbook. 5. Lastly, Hello! [Whomever you are] My name is John Gossen, and I am so excited you came to my Lumos travel blog. I will be traveling to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania for three months to volunteer in a government hospital starting in January 2016.
A bit about me: I was born in California, raised in Colorado, and graduated Cum Laude in May 2015 from the Honors program with a B.S. in Biology and chemistry minor from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. One of my earliest memories was my father telling me, “You are part of the problem, if you are not part of the solution.” For me, finding a solution has always come in two parts: getting to know people and then helping them. I was inspired to volunteer in homeless shelters and pursue my Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) license as a college freshman. These experiences taught me I am at my happiest helping other people. A “love of humanity” begat a love of travel. Thanks to my family, I have been fortunate enough to visit many parts of the US, and even left the country several times. While natural parks, architecture, and museums are beautiful, I found the most fulfilling experiences came from interacting with locals. The best argument for a “universal brotherhood of humanity” comes from travel. I can’t describe my amazement when I started playing soccer on the piazza in Italy, and discovered the game is played the same way across the world. We didn’t need to speak the same language, because we all knew the language of soccer.
Travel sparked my interest in medicine, and becoming an Emergency Medical Technician solidified my love of the field. Medicine combines my favorite sciences, helping others, and travel in a way no other profession can. Since getting my EMT license 4 years ago, I have worked in oncology offices, ambulances, and Emergency Rooms. There is no way to describe the feeling when someone thanks you for saving their life. In Nashville, working with the underprivileged and in the Emergency Room has shown me that life is valuable despite one’s socioeconomic status. I have always yearned to work in travel medicine, specifically in the African healthcare system.
Working in Tanzania is a dream come true. Upon returning home, I will be applying to medical school, and (in an ideal world) working with “Doctors Without Borders.” Volunteering in a Tanzanian hospital is not only the culmination of a dream, but an exploration of the future. My adventures in Tanzania will assuredly make me a better person, EMT, and hopefully one day a better physician. I want to say thank you to the Lumos Foundation for making a childhood fantasy a reality.