Recent graduates, current students assist with Kenya Medical Mission Trip
When Ephantus Mwangi and his wife, Hottensiah Kimori, graduated from Baker University’s School of Nursing in December 2008, the two envisioned the day members of their extended Baker family would join them on a mission trip to Kenya, assisting residents of a poor village void of medical supplies and treatment opportunities.
Their vision became a reality in June when four recent Baker graduates and three current students from the School of Nursing traveled to the couple’s native country to set up a health clinic in the Upper Matasia location of Ngong in the Kajiado District where Hottensiah was raised in an underdeveloped rural community with her parents and 11 siblings. Laura Caby, Erika Munker, Brette Myers and Nicole Woods — all May 2012 graduates — joined Baker nursing students Mercedes Eicher, Jessica Emory and Corinne Nilsen on the medical outreach through Streams of Hope International Inc. With donated medical supplies provided by their classmates, the Baker group members were assisted on the mission by local physicians, pharmacists and nurses.
“Our goal was to deliver care to the needy to a Christian community in Kenya,” Mwangi said. “We felt a strong connection with our fellow Baker alumni and students. We were able to bring health care to more than 600 residents of the village and felt good about what we accomplished, providing a broad range of assessments, screening, nutrition and counseling. The nursing students understood what we were trying to do. They made a good name for Baker.”
During the mission, the students were housed in Ngong, a town about 30 minutes away from the clinic. They traveled via matatu, a public minibus taxis, every morning. The clinic’s triage area was set up in a church sanctuary to better manage the people seeking health services such as pharmaceuticals, dental work, HIV counseling and testing, as well as mental health consulting. The clinic facility during school days is used as a school.
The nursing students valued being a part of the mission, partnering with Mwangi and Kimori, and will never forget the experience.
“It was an eye-opening experience,” Munker said. “You really don’t understand or grasp it until you see it with your own eyes. We helped so many people who wouldn’t have received help without us. They were so grateful for everything they have, which isn’t much at all, and the medical attention we gave.”
Emory was amazed how efficiently the clinic operated.
“We worked well with what we had,” she said. “Every day the patients were lined up waiting outside the clinic before we got there. One man had a large wound on a leg and needed a surgeon badly. We couldn’t offer that, but we were able to give him a bag of supplies to prevent infection.”
For Myers, the work she and her nursing colleagues accomplished served as an inspiration, validating the training they received at the School of Nursing. They saw a lot of cases of malaria, parasite infections, upper-respiratory ailments and depression and patients experiencing untreated wear and tear on their bodies.
“We being there made it the clinic,” she said. “After we got going, we took different roles, we could see the vision and see what was going to happen, and it worked out great.
It was getting back to the basics to all the skills we have learned. We provided community nursing, reached out and helped them.”
Mwangi and Kimori were extremely grateful to the School of Nursing students and faculty and the Stormont-Vail School of Nursing Alumni Association for their assistance coordinating the trip and gathering supplies.
“The Baker group was special to work with and inspiring,” Mwangi said. “When they left to return home, I had to refrain from crying. I felt like a part of my family was leaving. We want them to come back and would like more teams from Baker to come help us carry on our mission with the clinics.”
Next Medical Mission
Applications are being accepted for the next Streams of Hope International Inc. mission in June/July 2013. The organization is accepting donations of diagnostic and lab equipment and hospital supplies and is also in need of more volunteers, including opthalmologists and dentists. For more information, go to www.streamsofhopeinternational.org