In Nepal or the classroom, he’s in tune with his faith
By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
On a typical day, Richard Busby begins his classroom lecture at Grand Canyon University with a conversation about faith. He draws attention to people, mentors and experiences that have shaped his life. He helps his students see the beauty and wonder of the world through a nursing and simulation lab and also teaches them the relevance of practicing faith in every moment.
In his nearly 40 years of experience as an anesthesiologist and a nurse, the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions faculty member has visited 29 countries to do mission work. Filled with strong faith, a big smile and a passionate view about his role as a professor, Busby tells the story of how earlier this year he spent two weeks in Nepal along with his wife, Tina, and a team of 24 clinical experts to experience another way of life and work while serving the community of Kathmandu.
Busby expressed an impassioned appreciation for the Nepalese community, calling it “the most kind and gracious people.” Though there were many times the people had to wait in lines, even in the rain, to be seen by the medical team, Busby said it didn’t hold them back.
Busby administered triage and traffic control at the clinical sites. His wife worked as a nurse practitioner.
The team usually cared for 60-140 patients per day and half the time slept in tents on cement in the middle of village life, which Busby enjoyed watching while conducting his daily morning walk.
“They had this competition for whose milk had the highest butter fat content …
“I watched a woman feed her water buffaloes in the morning …
“I learned that you could eat a red flower that grows on trees … it was all such a blessing to be around.”
Busby even found himself playing his harmonica and ukulele and singing songs with the school-age children in the area.
But there was also a shelter approximately 10 miles from the clinic site that provided a home to dozens of women who had been victims of human trafficking and had a blacksmith with a broken foot whom Busby had met while walking one morning.
“The home housed anywhere from 25 to 60 girls, and some of the women were pregnant while others had children were between two to four years of age,” said Busby.
“On some nights, they would give up their beds and give us a place to sleep and wash up, and on the second-to-last night of our stay in Kathmandu, I was walking up a dark street toward the girls’ home and I could hear them singing,” he said. “When they finished their song, the girls made an announcement that our team was there and they placed us in the middle of the room to pray for us. I think there was even a 10-year-old praying for me. It was unbelievable.”
Busby said that while the trip resonated with a need he already had seen and knew existed, it was the first time he was able to visit with people and get to know them more personally. He recalled how, using hand motions, he asked the blacksmith to show him how he did his work.
“He had a little lean-to shelter, and underneath the shelter there was an impeller that blew air and he had to hand-crank it. I sat down by him, and I didn’t realize he was injured because he had a great smile,” said Busby.
“I watched for a while, and then a little while later I asked if he had a sickle I could buy, but he had already sold them all. On my last day, someone came up to me in the middle of the clinic and tapped me on the shoulder and motioned for me to follow him down the street and into the village. There was this blacksmith. He had spent the last two hours making a sickle for me as a present. I felt honored.”
Busby said he also considers himself a servant of his students. As they enter his classroom, part of his mission is to remind them that “God brought them here.”
By integrating faith into learning, Busby can provide encouragement in a field where nurses have to be “resilient and understanding,” he said.
“We don’t see people when they’re whole. We see them when they’re broken. We see them when they are at their worst. That’s why we have to remember what is true to the Gospel,” he said.
Contact Jeannette Cruz at [email protected] or (602) 639-6631.