Dr. Mohamed Janabi remembers that when he was a child in Tanzania, stores carried only one kind of chocolate. Now, when he enters a store in the east African nation with his children, he sees more brands than he can count.
Here's where ideas come from: Somewhere inside your brain, a signal shoots through a neuron at 200 mph toward a sac of molecules. Bam! When the signal hits that sac, it pushes the molecules out of the neuron, like a gust punching through an unlatched door.
Dilan Ellegala returns to the tiny bush town of Haydom in the summer of 2007, Tanzania's dry season, when the sun scorches the fields of maize and sunflowers, and the air fills with clouds of fine red dust. Ellegala greets the staff of Haydom Lutheran Hospital like old friends, including the medical technician, Emmanuel Mayegga, the man he trained to do brain surgery during his first visit the year before.
Most Tanzanians are farmers who live on less than $1 a day, and amid this poverty, tuberculosis, malaria and AIDS claim tens of thousands of lives a year. To reach villagers, Haydom Lutheran Hospital sends medical teams into the sun-baked African bush where they counsel patients and provide vaccinations. A doctor at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston saw this outreach program and modeled one in South Carolina after it.
God complex? Neurosurgeons hear it all the time. And truth be told, if you spent 14 years in medical school for this, spent day after day doing life-and-death surgeries, been told over and over that your medical specialty is among the most difficult, lucrative and mysterious, wouldn't your brain swell a little, too?