HORU April 20, 2015
"To me, the most important project I ever worked with has been in the Amazonian jungle, working with the people from the communities in Riberalta and Guajara-Mirim, on the border of Bolivia and Brazil. And it was so important because they used to collect Brazil nuts, but they didn't know what else to do with them. So they would sell those to the Brazilian middle-man and then they would commercialize it.
Being there as a physician, the thing that I discovered many years ago, is that you cannot just, if you really want to, impact health, you have to also impact in terms of the economy. One and the other come together, and impact the location, which is why we are here today. So we managed to get, through the European community, a plan so that they could process the Brazil nuts, and those nuts are now going to Holland. That's the main port of entry to Europe. So they managed to become an independent community instead of going to the jungle and being dependent on what the middle-man in Brazil will do.
Now they own their own destinies. It's a difficult area but the people managed to become independent and to start producing by themselves. They invest in themselves and they now have some intensive replica of healthcare in the community. To me that's the most important of projects because it involves everything and the community doesn't need you anymore."
"Why is it important to be independent in a global health environment?"
"You have to be a master of your own destiny, in all of those countries. The more educated, and healthy, and the more you can deal with your own issues, the more you are going to progress in life. So we can be that catalyzer, but it has to come from the people otherwise it never works."
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