Kenya 2018

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go…

The LSU/SHIP team leaves today! Our team of medical students, residents and faculty will be traveling to the Bungoma area in western Kenya for SHIP’s annual medical mission. I have been eager to be on my way since Christmas.

I plan to post here at least daily. Last year I had difficulty uploading via WordPress, and did most of my reporting on Facebook, so check there as well.

Please pray for safe travel, for our team, and for the wonderful people in Kenya.

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.

Time to leave for Kenya–prayers appreciated!

Tomorrow, January 27, the LSU/SHIP team will be leaving Louisiana for Kenya 2017!

On our team this year will be myself, Drs. Don and Amy Givler, and Dr. Ragsdale; Pediatrics residents Vilasini Rekhala, Truc Doan, Nicole Jones, and Teresa Do, as well as Rural Family Medicine resident Zohreen Bheriani; and medical students Lisa McDivitt, Melissa Davis, Morgan Bankston, Blair Stevens, Hanna Sams, Tischelle Gatlin, Rachel Strength, and Maria Luraquiz. Dotsy Baxter (Dr. Don’s sister) and Karen Do, RN (Teresa’s sister) finish out this fine team. Some will be in country for the first half of the month of February, others the second half; 8 of us (the Iron Doctors!) will be there the whole month.

As in previous years, we will be staying with Bishop Reuben and Betty Lubanga. Their home, and the ICODEI compound, are located in Kabula, a few kilometers south of Bungoma, Kenya. We will travel daily from there to outlying villages, setting up a mobile clinic to serve the needs of Kenyans in the area. We will be led by Mama Joyce Wasike, with her team of Kenyan clinical officers, nurses, pharmacists, and translators.

I am excited about our team, seeing old friends and meeting new ones, and ministering to the medical needs of rural Kenyans around Bungoma. Please pray for our team as we travel, and as we serve and learn in Kenya.

I will be posting daily if possible, but of course this will depend on electrical power and internet access being available.


Kenya update 2/8/16

Greetings from Western Kenya!

The SHIP/LSU team set up our mobile clinic at Lumboka church on our 6th work day. The morning was cool (60 degrees), breezy, and overcast. The sun came out in the afternoon, but the breeze kept us cool.

Our clinic was less busy numbers-wise, but made up for it in intensity. We saw several more children with malaria, one of which had a seizure while waiting for his meds. We sent him to the hospital with a presumptive diagnosis of cerebral malaria. We checked with the hospital later by phone, and he was stable, but he will need extensive medical care, and lots of prayers.

We also saw a couple of young women with goiters and presumptive hyperthyroidism, and some quite interesting dermatologic problems.

We are all continuing to have fun and learn a lot. Please continue to keep us in your prayers.


On to Kenya

I packed my bags last night, pre-flight
Zero hour five pm…

After all the preparation and anticipation, LSUHSC/SHIP team members are leaving today for Bungoma, Kenya for our Global Health elective and medical mission. Traveling to Kenya with me will be Drs. Don and Amy Givler, of the EA Conway Family Medicine Department; Dr. Sajel Lala (Campout Barbie), pediatric resident; and medical students Franciscka Macieiski, Lurah Welch, Melissa Davis, Robert Zaunbrecher, Diana Badkoobeh, Brittney Mitchell, Michelle Finch, and Naiha Mussarat.

Please be in prayer for our safe travel and health, and for this extension of the healing ministry of Jesus Christ to Kenya.


Travel photos

Cool photos here:

A group of young Samburu warriors touch a black rhino for the first time in their lives, at the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, in northern Kenya.
Black rhinos are almost extinct in Kenya. This young calf had been orphaned when poachers killed its mother, and was hand-raised at Lewa. Most people in Kenya never get the opportunity to see the wildlife living around them, especially at such close quarters. Attention is often given to the effect of poaching on wildlife, but there is little focus on indigenous communities, who are on the frontline in the clash between poachers and armed game wardens.


Direct flights to Nairobi!

Direct flights between Kenya and the United States could begin as early as May, according to Kenyan officials.

“We anticipate that we shall commence direct flights to the USA by May 2016, having as of now cleared almost all aviation audit issues,” transport cabinet secretary James Macharia told the Nation, a local newspaper.

I had hoped that this would happen in time to affect my Kenya trip in February, but this is good news for next year. Both Delta and Kenya Airways are planning flights between Nairobi and Atlanta.

KEN 787-8

GravityLight–Turning Gravity Into Light

Really cool–I could use one of these in Kenya.

I have a little problem with the explanation, however. Destin says “…powering a light with nothing but gravity.” This isn’t quite true: the potential energy is generated when the operator lifts the weight, and is converted to kinetic energy as gravity pulls the weight back down. The actual power comes from the operator, not gravity.

Whatever the source of the power, this is a great adaptation of a clockwork/weight mechanism to generate light where there is no cheap and reliable source of electricity.

GravityLight devices will be assembled in Kenya, providing jobs, as well as a light source that doesn’t require kerosene. You can read about GravityLight, and even donate to the cause at their website.


Three months until Kenya 2016

It is time to make plans and get prepared! I am feeling the eagerness a little more each day–God is providing another opportunity to teach, serve the less privileged, and spread the Good News in Kenya. Please keep me and the LSU team in your prayers.

This year we have decided to take two trips to Kenya to provide care. We are also overjoyed to announce that SHIP has worked with LSU Health to create the Global Health Elective for 3rd and 4th year medical students which will allow more students to attend the trip! Currently, we have 16 medical students, 3 attendings, and a resident planning to travel to Kenya in February 2016 and April 2016! Please keep watching out for news about what we are doing for the people of western Kenya!

The countdown timer for the February mission is in the right sidebar.