After a one-year medical aid program in Central African nation of Chad, Zhang Jinghui and his team returned to China to reunite with their families before the 2019 Spring Festival.
"I heal patients every day but staying with families heals me all the time," Zhang told the Global Times on Monday.
"I am happy to come back and reunite with my family…but also very sad as my mom died…" Zhang said.
Zhang learned his mother was dying after half a year in Chad, but he chose to stay until the end of the program. "I couldn't abandon my team," said Zhang. Luckily he was able to join his mother in her last two months after returning.
Zhang, a general surgeon in East China's Jiangxi Province, led a medical aid team organized by Chinese health authorities to Chad in November 2017.
The team included 10 doctors, who took an eight-month French language course, Chad's official language, before leaving China.
"I still remember the moment when my wife held my newborn twins and saw me off at the airport…" Jiang Zhusheng, another doctor from the team, told the Global Times on Monday.
Volunteer doctors suffered from not only a lack of medical equipment for surgery but also poor internet conditions to video chat with their families, Jiang said.
"I felt bad that I couldn't be with my babies in their first year…," said Jiang, noting that he felt honored to have helped patients in Chad.
As the Spring Festival on February 5 approaches, family reunions are standard for most Chinese people. However, Zhang and Jiang are still busy at work after back from Chad that they both have not begun to prepare for the Chinese New Year.