Out of Africa

Okay, back to the blog–I was unable to upload photos while in Kenya, so I posted on Facebook exclusively. Now that I am back home, I can tell the story of the past month with illustrations.

In late January, the SHIP team from LSU School of Medicine in Shreveport traveled to western Kenya to hold mobile clinics in rural villages in Bungoma and Kakamega counties. Our team was composed of faculty (Drs. Don and Amy Givler, Conway Family Medicine; and myself), four resident physicians (Dr. Nicole Jones, Pediatrics; Drs. Yemesi Adesida and Aiyasawmi Doraijan, Med/Peds; and Dr. Timothy “Tip” Rugile, Rural Family Medicine), medical students Rob Ross, Victoria Bamburg, Dieu Doan, Ariel Osorio, Miriam Hankins, Emily Barsley, Kelly Bihm, Rachel Noto, Andrew Murphy, and physician assistant Kelsey Devine. Mid-month Dr. Amy and the medical students went home, and were replaced by Dr. Michael Harper (LSU Family Medicine-Shreveport); medical students Britton Beatrous, Julio Vega, Rachel Strength, Victoria Luraguiz, and Richie Diaz; and registered nurse Melaine Wall Craig.

We were based at the home of Bishop Reuben and “Mama” Betty Lubanga, in the village of Kabula, just south of Bungoma, Kenya. Bishop Reuben’s organization, ICODEI/Volunteer Kenya, is our sponsor in the country. The organization provides our food and housing, sets up our clinic sites, and arranges for transportation and translators. The clinic coordinator, “Mama” Joyce Wasike, is the day-to-day ramrod and driving force.

Mornings started with breakfast, and a presentation by a medical student on a medical topic related to Kenya.

After breakfast, we headed over to the clinic building, where we usually saw several patients, then loaded up our pharmacy and equipment to travel to the day’s mobile clinic site.

We went to a different site each day, usually a rural church or a village community center. In one case, it was on the lawn of a private home. If there was space and shade available, we set up stations outside. Some sites had neither, and we set up inside. The low buildings with metal roofs get pretty hot up in the day, so outside in the shade was preferred.

Each student had a station to see patients, and a translator. After obtaining a history, performing a physical exam, and formulating a differential diagnosis and plan, the student daktaris would present the case to a faculty member. When the diagnosis and plan were confirmed, the patient received treatment, including medications from the pharmacy. Our resident physicians saw patients on their own, but often consulted faculty, as well.

Degenerative joint disease (old, worn out joints) is very common in our patient population, and we often inject joints to give the patient some temporary relief from their pain.

On weekends, we often did the tourist thing, and visited places like Samich Resort, on the escarpment overlooking the Great Rift Valley;

or Lake Victoria;

or even the caves of Mount Elgon.

Several team members elected to do a game safari to Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara Game Reserves.

We are all now home in the States, but as always, I returned a different person. I praise God for the opportunity to serve others, for His glory, in Kenya, and wherever the next opportunity takes me. I am just waiting for Him to open the door.

LSU/SHIP Kenya 2018

The time to leave for Kenya is rapidly approaching. LSUHSC faculty, residents, and students, through Support for Humanitarianism through Intercontinental Projects (SHIP), will again be traveling to western Kenya to minister to the medically under-served in the area. We will be partnering with ICODEI, a Kenyan organization directed by Bishop Reuben Lubanga.

This year’s team will include four LSU faculty members, Dr. Don Givler, Dr. Amy Givler, Dr. Michael Harper, and myself; four residents from the Pediatrics, Med/Peds, and Rural Family Medicine programs; sixteen (if I counted correctly) medical students from the 3rd and 4th year classes; and a registered nurse. We are supported by a great team at home at LSUHSC, as well.

This will be my fourth visit to the Bungoma, Kenya area. I am excited by this year’s team. Our primary purpose will be medical outreach to the under-served population around Bungoma. The residents and students will have an opportunity to learn about medicine in a different culture, under very different circumstances, and with new challenges.

I also am excited about seeing my Kenyan family in Kabula–Bishop Reuben, his wife Mama Betty, our clinic director Mama Joyce Wasike, and their families. They bless us with their love, hospitality, and wisdom.

I ask for your prayers for our team as we travel and minister.

I will be posting more in the days ahead, and hopefully in Kenya, as well.

More on Kenya

As I posted recently, I will be going to Kenya with 16 medical students and 3 other faculty members from LSU Medical School in Shreveport. The trip will be a combination medical mission/international medicine elective for senior medical students. A few junior students and one pediatric resident will be going as well.

In Kenya, we will be based at the ICODEI compound in Kabula. Staying in thatched roof mud huts at night, we will go out each day to churches and schools to hold medical clinics for the people of Kenya.

The student organization, Support for Humanitarianism through International Projects (SHIP), raises money through donations and fundraisers to fund this mission trip. I have been asked to raise $2000 to cover expenses for the mission.

If you would like to help, you may make a tax-deductible donation through the PayPal link below. When you arrive at the PayPal site, please type my name in the “special instructions for seller” space.

I am excited about this special opportunity to provide medical care in a vastly under-served area, teach medical students international medicine, and spread God’s Word in Kenya!

This is where we will be sleeping.