The Kenya experience presented daily occasions to grow in faith, and to be grateful.
Concordia Nursing students have compassion and integrity, and they are intrepid! Our team of 7 CUAA Nursing students and 2 clinical instructors travelled to Kenya where we took part in health care delivery in urban and rural environments. Our team hit the ground running with a stay in the capital, Nairobi. Every day began with a review of the day’s plan. Daily devotions helped to prepare the team for challenging situations; throughout the trip, I was especially mindful of the verse,
“And lo, I am with you always.” (Matthew 28:19).
Whether visiting community members in Nairobi’s slums, jostling in the back of a vehicle to a remote village, or comforting a patient’s loved ones as they waited to see the hospital nurse, it was comforting to know of God’s ever‐present love. Morning events began with the team piling into a minivan to work at various sites in the city or in “the bush”. On the first day, the team delivered some 300 hygiene packs to help keep girls and boys in school, then visited families in need in central Nairobi. For the rest of the week, students worked among various communities. One morning was spent at a grammar school to complete fluoride treatments for more than 100 students. The afternoon brought a meeting with community health workers, who shared stories about income generating activities toward sustainable gardens and local advocacy initiatives. We learned about initiatives to empower women’s groups, and the role of youth as change agents to prevent infection and improve nutrition.
A four‐hour train ride took the team to Voi, the site of a small hospital and a bustling market. A pan‐African nursing staff introduced us to local health care challenges and promising practices as they worked side‐by‐side with Concordia Nursing students. A valuable lesson was how to provide care for body and spirit despite scarce hospital resources such as gloves and stethoscopes, and we were able to compare how practices such as medication administration are managed in Kenyan and American hospitals. The Kenya team also provided vision screening and eyeglasses, visited with women’s groups, and assessed children’s health status at an orphanage.
The Kenya experience made it possible for nursing students to get a first‐hand glimpse of issues that challenge health in East Africa. Mostly, though, the Kenya experience presented daily occasions to grow in faith, and to be grateful. Every day, each one of our student served with the integrity, compassion and excellent attitude that embody a Concordia nurse.
—Peggy McLaughlin is an associate professor of nursing at Concordia University Ann Arbor. She works within the School of Nursing’s undergraduate program.
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