RPMH employees take medical mission trips

The August Lunch and Learn Seminar held at Rolling Plains Memorial Hospital highlighted two medical mission trips in Africa taken by hospital employees.Bonnie Garcia, supervisor of the local OR, headed to Kenya to work with Kenya Relief, an organization founded by Steve and Greta James after they met the child sponsored by their late daughter. Since its inception, over 1400 people have gone to Migori, Kenya to offer assistance.The trip, which took place in the first part of August, fell during the country's winter season, where temperatures reached between 70 to 75 degrees. Kenya's legal bounds regarding medical care are essentially non-existent in comparison to American health care. Many items are reused unless bodily fluids end up on them.Over the three days, around 30 surgical cases were dealt. Within the clinic, almost 300 patients were seen.Trips like this allow many medical students to take part in procedures that would not be allowed in the States. In one instance, a senior resident within Garcia's team conducted a surgery with her surgeon father.The team was also able to visit a school and orphanage. Presently, 38 children are on a wait list as a sponsor is required for them to enter the school. Additionally, the orphanage only allows two children per family unit to enter the facility.With Kenya Relief's goal of every person leaving an impression, Garcia shared that even people without medical training can still go and help. She recalled the joy of the people and how they, in turn, left an impression on her.Dr. Robert Eaker and Jeree Hendley, RN took part in a trip to Malawi, Africa through Circle of Hope International. The goal of trip was to live out James 1:27 as they ministered to orphans and widows.Circle of Hope partners with the Grace Center, which includes a network of 17 churches called the Grace Alliance Church. Grace Center also has two orphanages, a preschool, Bible college, textile center, grain mill and a clinic and aspiring hospital.Timothy's House is a boys' orphanage, while Patricia's Home is for babies through girls age 18. And at the textile center, which helps fund the Grace Center, items like purses, tablecloths, laptop bags and clothes are made.Additionally, the grain mill gives resources in order to further the local economy. Through the partnership of Circle of Hope and Grace Center, the goal is for the people to be self-sustaining and become leaders in the community.Exams were given to the orphans and preschools for malaria and various respiratory issues. Over the two-week trip, over 800 children were seen.Much work is still to be done in Malawi, as $20,000 is needed for the hospital to be fully functional. To add a roof to the church would cost $44,000, with an additional $20,000 to complete the building.For both of the organizations, sponsorship opportunities are available. However, one of the best ways to help is to personally go and take part in the projects.For more information on Kenya Relief, visit www.kenyarelief.org. To learn more about Circle of Hope, visit www.cohcommunity.org.