Native nations have been hit hard by this pandemic. After working for years as a pediatrician on a reservation, Dr. Christina Thuet was determined to do something to help. So she started an organization — supported by “strangers” — that sends resources to hurting tribal communities in the Four Corners region.
“I think the most inspiring thing that I’ve seen during this relief effort has been how everyone has come together,” she says. “We’re all one, we’re all battling the same war, and we need to come together as one community.”
Meet Christina: advocate
When COVID-19 Hit the U.S., the Navajo Nation had the highest infection rate. Poor access to medical supplies and hospitals worsened their crisis.
Dr. Christina Thuet: April 27th was when we had our very first flight. We are now seven weeks out from that and we’re going to hit our 100th flight this week.
‘With Love, from Strangers’ is a volunteer organization that Dr. Thuet founded to gather medical supplies and deliver them to the Navajo Nation during the COVID pandemic.
[Speaking to volunteers] Do you want to start with the boxes?
Man 1: Yeah, that’ll be great. I think, if I could put the lighter ones in the back —
Dr. Christina Thuet: They’re all light.
Man 1: Oh.
Dr. Christina Thuet: These supplies mean a lot to the frontline workers that are receiving them. A lot of times these items are in short supply, running low at a particular hospital, and there’s been a lot of gaps in supply chains as COVID broke out. Knowing that they’re safe and protected and that there’s people from afar that are strangers thinking about them, I think means a lot to them.
This place just has a really special place in my heart. Having been a pediatrician there for four years, wanting to protect the community there and wanting to protect my friends and people that have really become our family is why I’ve done this.
Man 2: A lot of the Navajo people out here, they don’t even have running water or electricity and all that into their homes. Donations from people all over the place and all that, they really appreciate it out here because a lot of times we have a hard time looking for stuff for getting things that we need out here for homes and stuff.
Dr. Christina Thuet, reading email: To whom it may concern, I read that the Native Americans are suffering from COVID-19 more than other groups of Americans. Please let me know what’s the best way to contribute if I am from out of state.
[Scanning through list of names on website] This is all of the people involved in this. These are all the people, whether they’re pilots or have donated as a volunteer or have brought supplies or organizations that have found PPE, all of these people have made an impact and are part of what we’ve done, and we definitely couldn’t have done this without them.
[Speaking to pilot, loading plane with boxes] These ones are the heavier ones.
Pilot: Okay, perfect.
Dr. Christina Thuet: I think the most inspiring thing that I’ve seen during this relief effort has been how everyone has come together and been connected as one community, even though we have people from Utah as well as people from Florida, all over the country, even outside of the United States that are coming together to say that we’re all one, we’re all battling the same war and that we need to come together as one community.
Pilot: Thank you.