Their observations of discovering some of life's grim realities provided by salient insights into the shallow ignorance of what former US president Donald Trump contemptuously referred to as “shithole countries”.
Both McCall and Brown had witnessed and been moved by the shocking lives many people were forced to endure, often exacerbated by the consequences of unbridled corruption.
In doing so they had developed an incisive understanding of the terrible consequences that occur when personal agendas override all other considerations to the point where the outcome is evil.
In essence, the doctor and the author were first-hand witnesses to the logical end point to the late UK prime minister Margaret Thatcher’s much quoted assertion that “there's no such thing as society”.
They were words perfectly formed for the favoured 10-second sound bite on a news bulletin.
Just like Trump’s, “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” referring to people from Africa and Central America.
One of his sympathisers denied Trump was being racist: “Trump simply meant countries without plumbing,” he said.
While another stated the president did certainly not sue the word ‘shithole’. He had in fact used the word ‘shithouse’.
Well, they might seem like the sort of language you can use or the sort of sentiments you might offer until a grieving mother turns up at your door at four in the morning cradling a dead toddler who has succumbed to an entirely preventable disease.
Or when you arrive in a remote village to transport their vegetables to market and are met by a line of stunned women, one of whom is bleeding profusely from an axe wound to the back of her head.
Many readers could relate similar moments when self-satisfaction was shaken out of them.
How an event forced an examination of their sugar-coated view of how the world worked and how its inhabitants were somehow not part of ‘normal’ life.
When these moments of shocking realisation occur, it doesn’t take long to shake you out of your complacency and examine the shallowness of your thinking about how the world worked.
It’s about that time when you either decide to pack up and ‘go pinis’ (leave forever) or something more profound happens: that you have an obligation to stick around.
At this point you have unknowingly crossed your own personal Rubicon.
It’s then that you no longer feel fully comfortable about who you are. Nor are you able to relate in the same way to where you came from
It’s at this point you decide to stay on. It’s at this point a feeling of empathy and understanding attach to you, never to leave no matter where you are.
I empathise with both McCall and Brown, neither of whom I know but who’s sentiments are immediately familiar.
And I am thankful they feel the way they do, because in this incredibly shallow world of Maccas and ‘fully sick’ and ‘BLT’, there’s more truth and purpose to be found in the realities they discovered than they ever would have known in the bubbles they came from.