INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – If you wanted to share a defining moment from the life of Dr. Ellen Einterz, the natural instinct would be to start with a story from her 24 years of providing love and medical care to people in one of the poorest countries in Africa, people devastated by the impacts of AIDS, cholera and malaria.
But maybe the better beginning involves the email that changed the direction of her life in a way that still stuns the 63-year-old physician.
The email flashed onto her computer screen in the early part of 2016 when she was back in Indianapolis, back in the parish of her family and her youth – St. Matthew the Apostle.
At the time, she was just a few months removed from helping to take care of her dad – the son of an Irish-Catholic mother and a father who was a Jewish refugee from Russia – before he died in November 2015.
She was also finishing her memoir that captures her experiences in Cameroon, the African country where she long ago arrived in an atmosphere of distrust for the female doctor from America, a country where she helped build a hospital and a network of health professionals to serve people who live daily at the edge of life and death.
She was still hoping to return to Kolofata, the community in Cameroon to which she dedicated her life for 24 years. She also had become a target there of Boko Haram – the terrorist organization that in 2014 killed 17 of her friends and colleagues and kidnapped 17 more, just shortly after she had returned to Indianapolis for a summer visit.
She has been told she’s still a target and that her return would not only endanger her but others.
Amid all of this, the bold-highlighted email from the Marion County Health and Hospital Corporation appeared.
She had previously received emails from the same source and ignored them, but this time – she’s still not sure why – she opened it. And one word in the text transfixed her: “Refugees.”
Read more at Crux.