Dr. Terry Horner (known affectionately as Dr. Terry in the village) traveled to Makutano to provide care and medical knowledge to the people of the village. After six weeks, Dr. Terry was inspired by what he saw and the compassion, care, and charity he saw all around him in the village.
I recently returned from an uplifting and inspiring six-week trip in Makutano, Kenya, where I worked with Village Project Africa. I wanted to go back for my second time, because I saw last year how much work needed to be done to improve medical, agricultural, and educational facilities. I feel it is my calling from God to help the village people, who have spiritually-inspired me and become my friends. We continued Village Project Africa’s mission to help current and future generations of this impoverished village break the chains of poverty.
Last year, I stayed three weeks with the group and refreshed my childhood farming skills. Over the course of this year, Village Project Africa transformed the school garden into a larger garden with a greenhouse for tomatoes and cabbage. Village Project Africa now has self-sustaining produce that they eat and even sell. To complement the produce, a farm manager now cares for 200 chickens and three cows.
The focus of this year’s trip was to expand a small medical clinic with one practitioner, who sees 500 students for free. I realized how difficult it can be to care for the children and families when I couldn’t access current technology in a comfortable environment like at home. Village Project Africa proposed a much larger clinic with laboratory services to help treat patients based on a diagnosis, rather than by symptoms. In addition, maternity services with pre- and postnatal care and deliveries will be initiated to reduce the infant and maternal mortality rate.
This proposed clinic will serve women who currently deliver at home or have to walk several miles to reach another center. HIV and AIDS patients will also have access to
better treatment options at this facility. Once the plans are approved, we can start construction. We plan to return next year with a larger medical team from the U.S. to provide a free clinic.
A few days before I arrived, a Kenyan medical student started volunteering at our clinic. His story caught my attention because he lost both of his parents at a young age and he was interested in becoming a neurosurgeon. He told me he struggled with school, but said he remembered his father’s advice that education was the key to success. He paid more attention to his studies and his hard work paid off when he became the only student in his secondary school’s history to receive perfect grades. In addition, he scored 37thon a test among 67,000 students in Western Kenya. Despite being admitted to the medical school at Kenyetta University, he could not pay for more than one semester.
For the next six weeks, he amazed me at how much he knew about medicine with only one semester of medical school. His potential is great, and he wants to stay in Kenya to become the fourth neurosurgeon in his country. Village Project Africa promised him financial support during seven years of medical school. In exchange, he agreed to stay and practice in Kenya.
Finally, the local school called the Heritage Academy has been booming. There are more than 500 students now and a new 6th grade will add 100 more children. The government signed off on plans to start building a dining hall/conference center. Among other benefits, it will give children a place to eat out of the dust and rain.
As a physician, I am always grateful for the chance to help someone physically, but this also gives me the opportunity to share my faith through service. I thank all of my patients, colleagues, and friends for their support. Being a part of Village Project Africa has changed my life by showing me the purest forms of compassion, care, and charity in Makutano.