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Have you heard about Dr. Albert Schweitzer, who was a famous doctor from Germany?

Even as a small boy, he loved all living beings .He loved animals and human beings so much that he did not want to see any animal or person hurt .He would not allow even his friends to hurt living beings.

Once he was walking with a friend near the fields .His friend was about to use a slingshot (a strip of leather held in the hand and used in olden days for throwing stones) to shoot at some bird sitting in the field. Young Albert who saw this ran out to the field and shooed away all the birds sitting in the field before his friend hit any of them .This young boy grew up in later years to be a very famous man.

Albert Schweitzer first became famous as a writer and musician. But, he was always faced with a problem about the purpose of his life .He often asked himself what he could do to help people the most. After serious thinking, he decided to study medicine so that he could make sick people well and keep them free from pain. But at that time there were several doctors in America and Europe. He came to know that Africa was one place that had many sick people but few doctors ..So after his studies Dr. Schweitzer went to Africa to help these sick people get well.

At that time medicines were not available in Africa. Facilities for travel to Africa and within the country were inadequate. To tide over these difficulties, the doctor took big boxes of medicines with him and traveled in a canoe (a light boat moved by one or more paddles), on dangerous rivers through thick , green jungles. He saw huge snakes hanging down from the branches of trees. He could hear wild animals crashing through the forests and birds chattering loudly.

The people in Africa were a peculiar type. They did not want to change. They wanted to keep on living in the way they always had lived. So, in the beginning, they were afraid of the new white man who came there as a doctor .But, with the help extended by him to the local people, they soon realized that he was their friend. The doctor wanted to build a hospital for them. The local people helped him to build his first hospital on the banks of a river. Some sick people walked into his hospital, traveling through the jungle paths. Some others came in boats made of logs. Children with big sores all over their bodies were brought to the hospital. People who had been bitten by snakes or big poisonous spiders also came for treatment.

Helping the poor people of Africa, Dr. Schweitzer worked all day every day and many nights. As time went on , the efforts of Dr. Schweitzer were known to the outside world and several other doctors and many nurses came to help him.

At times when he ran out of money and needed more medicines and hospital supplies, the doctor would go back to Europe to give lectures and play organ recitals, for collecting money. Then he would return to Africa. Later he built a bigger hospital there. He spent most of his life in Africa, not only helping the sick but also teaching the people to help each other.
By Raman Pillai Purushothaman.