We set out on our first medical mission for Sweetwater Outreach on January 22nd, 2017 from Atlanta, Georgia. We arrived in Nairobi, Kenya Monday night at 9:00 pm local time. We had a brief problem with our medications getting through customs that caused us some stress, but the Lord was gracious and we were soon on our way to Kisumu. After we landed in Kisumu we were met by John Blevins SWO’s Executive Director, Martin Onyoni, and Naftali. We loaded up the trucks, and traveled the 3 hour route to Kisii arriving at around 5 pm. We had a brief meeting with Daniel Apapo and the team from the Ministry of Health who were partnering with us for the upcoming medical mission. There was a group of about 20 people including the Sub-County Minister of Health, 4 Clinical Officers (who are the equivalent to a Nurse Practitioners), and multiple other nurses and support staff. After the meeting we finally arrived at our hotel: Mash Park.
The next morning, Wednesday, started early at 7:00 AM. We traveled to our first clinic that was to be held in Nyachenge on the border of the Tabaka Ward. This clinic is owned and operated by a Clinical Officer named Mary Gorety Rabach. She was wonderful resource for us as we planned the medical mission, and was our medical liaison in establishing a presence in the area. There was an opening ceremony conducted by the county Minister of Health as well as other local government officials. That day our team including Greg Jacobs, Lauretta Price, Sharon Wouters, Alex Corbitt, Lincoln Painter, and myself conducted a clinic involving basic medical care. We saw approximately 200+ patients that day.
Thursday we traveled to a clinic located on the side of a beautiful hill, set high in the mountains surrounding Kisii. It was called Giantunde clinic. This clinic was much busier and we saw over 300 patients.
Friday we concluded our last clinic at another location set on a hill called Nyatika. Here we saw over 300 more patients. All in total we were able to evaluate and treat close to 1,000 patients. These included women, men, children with all varying problems. We primarily saw issues that are understandable given their tough lives. These included many problems stemming from arthritis. There were also many stomach issues related to either spicy foods, possible parasites, but mostly unsafe water.
While we treated patients our water team, including Bernice Reeves, was teaching the waiting patients about the importance of clean, safe water, and how to provide this for themselves and their families. In addition to our primary care the local health officials set up a cervical cancer screening station / family planning station, as well as a HIV testing center. This allowed our teams to not only treat primary care issues, but to help address other major issues that face the populations of these areas.
On Sunday we traveled from Kenya to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania where we were to conclude our trip. On Tuesday after a day of rest we rode by bus for 4 hours to a remote village in the area of Mandera. There we met with about 20 people who were related to one of the pastors from the church in Dar Es Salaam. We taught them about health related issues such as food preparation, hygiene, and parasites. We also taught them the techniques for clean, safe water.
Wednesday we remained in Dar Es Salaam traveling to a secondary school in the area of Tabata. Here we taught about 40 students about hygiene, food preparation, parasites, and clean, safe water. The response to the teaching was the greatest at the school. The 14-18 year olds were eager to hear about how to prepare safe water, and what steps they could take to ensure safe water for themselves, and their families. We were able to meet with the school administrator and lay out some plans for a follow up trip in the future to possibly install a chlorinator.
Thursday we left from Dar Es Salaam at 11:59 pm and traveled our way back through Amsterdam and on to Atlanta.
Overall, as a team traveling for our first medical mission of Sweetwater Outreach, it was a very big success. We were able to reach close to 1,000 people, and not only address their primary care issues, but also educate them about safe water which is the source of all their problems. We give all the glory to God for His support, planning, and administration of this mission and look forward to the opportunities He creates for us for future missions.
Adam Kinsaul, Director of Medical Services