Jambo Rafikis! (hello friends!) My name is Molly Maggard, daughter of Margaret and Danny Maggard, and I just returned from a Medical Missions trip to Kenya. I traveled through an organization called Mercy and Truth Medical Missions with a doctor, nurses, and seven of my fellow students.
Together we journeyed halfway across the world to deliver free healthcare to a small village in northwest Kenya called Biribiriet, located 20 miles outside of the town Kitale. There, we helped Elite Marathon Runner Wesley Korir open his newly constructed clinic in his hometown.Wesley is a University of Louisville graduate who funded the project with his winnings as the Boston Marathon Champion for 2012.
We stocked a bare supply closet at the clinic with over 500 pounds of supplies that we acquired from a Louisville organization called “Supplies Overseas.” We teamed up with another Louisville organization, EDGE Outreach, to set up a clean water filtering system at the clinic, where families can come and fill their water pots with clean, non-parasitic water We raised thousands of dollars that we used to purchase prescriptions and medications to stock the empty pharmacy. Most importantly, we treated approximately 4,000 patients in a mere two weeks.
But those are just facts. As astonishing as those facts seem, the real story lies in the experiences we shared with the people of the village. Everyday, as we drove on the dirt roads to the clinic, kids would chase after our vans, smiling and waving while shouting “Mazungu Rafikis,” or “white friends” in Swahili. Their Kenyan sense of community, intricate welcoming handshakes, food, smiles and abundant love will stay with me forever.
It was so humbling to make house calls to visit terminally ill patients, where their “house” was nothing more than a grass-roofed hut with mud walls. It was uplifting to visit the dirt-floored schools and hear the children sing. It was so much fun to play soccer with the children, who were playing barefoot because they didn’t own tennis shoes.
Conversely, with as many wonderful things as I experienced, I also witnessed pain, poverty, suffering, starvation, and the sad eyes of those in need. But one thing I never saw was hopelessness, which has greatly inspired me. If you feel inspired as well, please visit www.kenyankidsfoundation.org to learn more about how American efforts are helping my friends in Biribiriet. Asante Sana (thank you very much) and Kwahari (good-bye)!
Molly Maggard is a 2007 Graduate of Hazard High School, a 2011 Graduate of Georgetown College and is currently a second year student at the University of Louisville Medical School.