I am fortunate that two of my passions in life will intersect later this week. I love to travel and experience new cultures/food, so when I was asked to plan and lead a trip with co-workers to Kenya I saw it as a chance to blend with my other passion, medical mission work. Another organization, PINCC (Prevention International: No Cervical Cancer), will be in the same area of Kenya and we will be working with them for the first week in 2 towns near Lake Victoria on the western edge of the country. The second week we will travel to Kissi and work with local staff to operate a cervical cancer screening clinic for 3 days.
300,000 women a year die of cervical cancer, 85% of them in the developing world. 500,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Cervical cancer is a slowly developing disease and can be easily cured if found in the early stages. PINCC works to train local staff about the disease and how to perform the screening/treatment. I have used their materials to start a smaller version of the program in Haiti, and am looking forward to being part of a new start program in Kenya. More info about this volunteer led organization is at pincc.org.
At the end of my trip, I hope to be able to spend 2 days with Carol Erickson, the former children’s director from our church, who has established a home for teenage mothers and their babies in Nanyuki, Kenya. We hope to provide health education to both the girls, the community and possibly a few clinics located in more remote areas. Great photos of Carol and the babies and more of her story is at imarainternational.org
The 5 dedicated nurses from Maple Grove Hospital that have agreed to accompany me on this venture are also all moms. They will be leaving their families for 2 weeks and using vacation time from work to help improve the lives of moms in Kenya. Kissi is the hometown of 2 of the trip participants, so we will be in good hands for lodging and transportation. As I am able I will update the blog with journal entries and pictures. As the temperature drops to -30 here in MN tomorrow, I am looking forward to 80 degrees and humidity.