Healer’s Light: Achieving the Impossible

A new memoir by Gudata S. Hinika, MD, FACS | November 1, 2012 

Review by Mohammed Ademo and Hassen Hussein (opride)

What can one person do to revive a country’s health care system where only 149 doctors care for close to 30 million people? What can one person do to open up educational opportunities for orphaned children who would otherwise be condemned to a dreary life without hope?

A lot, according to Dr. Gudata Hinika.

The litany of ills in Ethiopia, a country where contracting chronic conditions like breast cancer or diabetes is as lethal as a death sentence, would exasperate even the most optimistic of humanists. But not Dr. Hinika, a physician from southern California. Propelled by the dreams of his grandparents, Hinika takes the world’s pressing challenges head-on.

Hinika’s book details the extraordinary journey of a skinny Oromo boy from rural Ethiopia who, escaping political and religious persecution, immigrates to America and goes on to attend one of its elite medical schools and brings, through sheer dedication and hard work, the joys of restored health and a life of hope to many in South Los Angeles as well as his native Ethiopia.

Half a century ago, Hinika Buliye, the future Dr. Hinika’s grandfather, embarked on a crusade to bring modern amenities such as roads, electricity, and education to a small rural village of Gode in the Oromia region of Ethiopia.

The illiterate Buliye, a well-respected community leader among his Arsi Oromo kinsmen, made a name for himself with his sophisticated peacemaking abilities, knack for oratory, and fierce advocacy for social justice. He had aspirations which he did not live long enough to carry through. But his lofty visions of a better life for Ethiopia’s poor did not die with Buliye.

Not blessed with an heir apparent to carry on his legacy, Buliye adopted his daughter’s eldest son, Hinika, who was later inspired by his maternal grandmother to lead a life of purpose.

Healer’s Light: Achieving the Impossible , Hinika’s first book, is a memoir, a special tribute to his beloved grandmother, Ayo. Written in simple but penetrating prose,Healer’s Light is filled with awe-inspiring stories of childhood, love, faith, perseverance, and giving, and the hardships and gratifications of practicing 21st century medicine.

Hinika’s inspiring journey, full of hurdles, from the mountains of his native Oromia, Ethiopia to the streets of South Los Angeles is a testament “to the enduring strength of human spirit” and the idea that, if you are willing to work a little harder, in America, you could still achieve greatness, as he did.

Hinika, who grew up fairly privileged under Ayo’s protective shield, was sent off to the nearest school in a place called Wotara, a few miles away, when he was six years old. The young Hinika wouldn’t have it. He neither understood nor cared about education, which his grandfather spent decades campaigning for until his last breath.

It was during this time, through long conversations as she walked Hinika to and fro school, that his Ayo made sure he understood the importance of education. She would often tell him, “with hard work you can reach the sky” and remind Hinika of why he has to attain education not just for himself but also for his Ayo.

As a teenager, a rebellious Hinika was disciplined on several occasions, including two expulsions from school. But his life took on a different trajectory in 1979  a year after he had transferred to Kuyera Ethiopian Adventist School, with the urging of his older brother Nigussie, where Hinika, whose biological father was a Muslim, finds Jesus Christ and his beloved wife, Wubitu. It was also at this school that Hinika had a glimpse of America and some of the medical advances unheard of in communist-ruled Ethiopia while flipping through books smuggled by American missionaries at the school.

Hinika faced mistreatment in the hands of Ethiopian authorities even as a boy because of his grandfather’s affluence. A few months before his graduation from Kuyera Institute as a class valedictorian, Hinika was drafted to serve in the national army. After spending a few weeks in confinement at a nearby military outpost, authorities allowed him to finish school and serve a few months in the national literacy program, a campaign modeled after his grandfather’s popular Arsi Basic Education System.

Beyond the author’s gripping story, Healer’s Light tries to prove with actionable and replicable examples, what it means to be the change one wishes to see in the world. Hinika personifies this ideal in his personal life, professional career, and philanthropic work that has spread the miracles of medicine and education around the world.

–Full Report  – Opride.com