Janice Rauser- co-leader and founder of COMMIT
I am a registered nurse at Stratford Hospital on the maternal Child unit and have worked there for the past 18 years. I am also mother to four +1 beautiful children and wife to Mark.
Eight years ago I had the opportunity to go on a medical mission to Nicaragua and it was life-changing. Meeting the beautiful people of Nicaragua and seeing how they lived in such poverty really shook me up. You can see pictures or even videos, but being
there is so much more powerful. The people live in shacks with tin roofs, dirt floors and only a blanket for a door. They sleep in hammocks or on the floor while animals freely walk in and out of their homes. The children have no toys to play with other than
what we give them at our medical clinics. It was heartbreaking to see how they struggled to survive with so little, struggled to feed their families, everyday of their lives a struggle..
When I flew home two weeks later, I
left a part of me in Nicaragua and I was determined to do my part in improving their lives any way possible. Since then a major amount of my time has been spent fundraising, getting containers of supplies ready to ship, putting teams together to work
in Nicaragua for a few weeks each year and my favourite part, going to Nicaragua. All four of my children have gone multiiple times with me to do the mission work too which has been amazing. My motto was and is “I cannot do all of the good that the world
needs, but the world needs all of the good that I can do”. So I will do it!! And through this commitment and determination of myself and a few others to change lives of those less fortunate, COMMIT was born.
One of the most
striking things for me was seeing where they got their drinking water from, which honestly made my stomach turn. The water that they drank either came from the river (which animals walked through and used as a bathroom) or a shallow, contaminated well.
Yuck, no wonder when asked at our medical clinics how much they drank, they replied, ‘ a glass per day?” I would have trouble drinking that water too. Their need for clean drinking water and proper sanitation was dire and this became one
of our top priorities as a mission group. I think it’s hard for us here in Canada to imagine not having access to clean, safe water, but that’s their reality. We have seen the improvements in their health in San Luis and Nandarola after providing
them with clean water and look forward to drilling more wells in other underprivileged villages.
Why do I do the work I do? It’s the people, the country, the work that still needs to be done there. We have so much here in Canada, we
are so blessed, to be able to give to others in need is what my happiness is about. Thankyou Rotary Club of Stratford for believing in COMMIT and supporting our work and projects.