“When you enable a family to be able to time and space their children, you actually improve the overall health of that family,” said Dr. Alma Golden, the Deputy Assistant Administrator of USAID’s Bureau for Global Health, at a recent Wilson Center event on the role of faith-based organizations in family planning. Faith-based groups are an “irreplaceable asset,” said Dr. Golden, when it comes to fighting stigma and marginalization and promoting positive health behaviors.
Jambo from Kijabe!

We have just wrapped up another exciting week in Kenya! Our week started off with an African adventure full of beautiful sights, wild animals, and great hiking. Then, we spent the rest of the week working in the “theatre,” which is becoming more familiar now J

This Sunday, we joined with Gretchen, a surgical resident from Vanderbilt, to see what Kenya is like outside of Kijabe. We woke up early in the morning and drove about an hour to Lake Naivasha and took a boat to the Crescent Island animal sanctuary. We were the first ones there and got to see all of the animals in their morning routine. There were giraffes, zebras, gazelles, wildebeests, and even hippos!
One of the many challenges faced in the complex management of a surgical patient here in Kijabe is the post-operative period – the days and weeks after the operation in which the critical nature of a patient’s illness frequently manifests itself. Whereas back at Vanderbilt there is an entire building filled with intensive care units containing hundreds of ventilators and innumerable critical care providers, here at Kijabe there are currently five ventilators available to adults and two to children. Before initiating an elective operation, the surgeon has to anticipate the post-operative condition of the patient to determine if he or she will need a bed and/or ventilator in the ICU. If this is not available, the operation is often postponed.
Week 2: Clinics began and the focus of the trip shifted back to learning and serving. By this time, we felt comfortable in our surroundings and were ready to engage in the work of clinics. We had grown into a family and team over the first week of preparation in Tennessee, and the first week in Cambodia. Our goal of providing health care to those lacking access was accomplished. So many lives were touched through our work, work that is in large part due to Hope Through Healing Hands. Without the support of this organization, I would not have been on this trip providing health care to those in need. Here is a look into a couple days throughout week 2 in Cambodia.
Wow, what a week we have had here in Poipet, Cambodia. We just wrapped up our sixth clinic in seven days and the team is definitely worn out. We spent two clinic days in the city of Poipet, rested on Sunday, and then set up three rural clinics near the Thai border Monday, Tuesday, and today. The clinics have been long and challenging, yet patient after patient I was reminded of how kind and grateful the Cambodian people are. On Sunday we attended the church where we set up our first two clinics. It was refreshing to be around Christian Cambodians worshiping and praising God. During that service I was reminded that our God is the God of every nation and all creation. After a long first week battling jetlag, the unknown, the heat, and new foods we were all greatly encouraged by a day of rest. During the sermon the pastor said, “As Christians, we must leave our comfort zone to provide comfort to others.” This resonated with me in the midst of challenging clinics and has carried me through day by day. I was reminded of the gift we have to serve in Cambodia, to step away from American life and engage with a new culture to provide even an ounce of comfort. Truly a beautiful picture of the gospel.
Jambo from Kijabe!

We have just completed our first week at the AIC Hospital in Kijabe, Kenya and it has been a life-changing experience so far. My classmate Allison met me in DFW to start our journey to London, then Nairobi. Our travel was uneventful and we made it safely to the guesthouse where we stayed the night in Nairobi. This was my first time seeing mosquito netting!
First official day of clinics! I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to be in Cambodia thanks to Hope Through Healing Hands, it has already been a memorable experience and we are just getting started. After three full days of taking in the new sights, sounds, and unique culture of the Cambodian people, we set out this morning for our first clinic hosted at Freedom’s Promise Sewing Center. During breakfast there was a sense of anticipation and curiosity unsure of what we would be doing today but excited to see the day unfold. We circled up with students, faculty, and translators, prayed for the day and moved out in faith. As a team we saw the provision of God in so many ways both big and small. From covered waiting and treatment areas to powerful cross-cultural prayer experiences God had clearly prepared a way for us and showed up in the details.
The first week of the trip was focused on traveling, over-coming jet lag, and diving into the incredible Asian culture. We tried our best to fall in line with all cultural norms and blend in. By this I mean that we dressed appropriately at all times, covering our shoulders and knees; we bargained with the sellers at the markets and Tuk-Tuk drivers as expected; we even ate Khmer food and sat on cushions around a low table at dinner! We lived like the locals, not like wealthy Americans. We attempted to be fully aware of the culture. We knew we would soon be serving throughout villages in Cambodia. In this blog I will share my thoughts from a day in Battambang during our first week. But first, I have to say THANK YOU to Hope Through Healing Hands for the incredible opportunity to be here, to grow as a health care professional, to serve those in need through medical care, and to share Jesus with all.
The opportunity to come to Kijabe, Kenya has been one of the most enjoyable, educational, and eye-opening experiences throughout my surgical training thus far. One of the most valuable experiences here has been the opportunity to learn from and work among Kenyan surgeons and trainees.
It’s 1997. We are a team of three doctors, tightly packed into a tiny, twin-engine plane, loaded to the brim with bandages, medicines and surgical supplies. We purposely lose our passports, and all personal identification, back in Uganda. Flying the last 200 miles at treetop level to avoid being spotted by circling bombers and gunships.

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