I was in boy scouts when I was young, and really enjoyed it; we played dodgeball, camped a couple times a year, and I learned how to build a fire. For kids here in South Africa scouts is also fun, but for some, the benefits of go far beyond the games.
Many of the troops are located in informal settlements, where some families live without running water and many other amenities. The kids are usually fortunate enough to go to a good school, and most are are able to get enough to eat, but the challeneges they face in life are still great.
First aid training is only one of the many qualifications scouts earn, so that upon completion of high school they not only have a degree, but a set of useful skills, and documented achievements that can help them obtain jobs or even admission into post-secondary education.
I enjoy my time with the scouts because it is an opportunity to interact with kids like I used to at camp, and I get to play a teaching role and help them learn something useful. This extra education can be used as a tool to fight the inequality that is still so prevalent in much of the world.
Whether it's during residency or beyond, the ongoing nature of this program means I will have many opportunities to return to South Africa and continue participating in this enjoyable and rewarding work.