Mission team works medical camps in Kenya
Release Date: August 6, 2009
NAIROBI, KENYA – Wayland Baptist University senior Colby Schniederjan wasn’t sure what to expect when he signed up for the summer mission trip to Kenya. Led by Rick Shaw, Ph.D., director of Wayland’s mission center, a group of students and community members spent several weeks in Kenya in July, working at various outreach projects around Nairobi and Mombasa. Schniederjan, a biology major from Dalhart with visions of medical school in his future, signed up to work with the medical team.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” Schniederjan said. “I had never done this type of mission work before. I have done volunteer work, but it was all local. This was my first big trip overseas.”
The medical team’s mission was to carry supplies and medication to Kenya, where they worked with various churches in Nairobi and Mombasa, offering free medical clinics to treat patients who otherwise didn’t have the means to seek the medical help they needed. In that span, group members treated nearly 3,000 people.
“We had been told we would be doing all this stuff, but I didn’t expect to see 3,000 people in the short time we were over there,” Schniederjan said.
The team left for Kenya on July 3 and returned July 26. With a portion of that time devoted to travel, the group spent approximately 12 days on the ground working the medical camps. The camps were set up like a regular clinic. As patients checked in, they registered with their personal information. After having their vital signs checked, they would see the doctor, who diagnosed the problem and prescribed the appropriate medication. The patient would then visit the pharmacy area, where the medication was administered. Schniederjan spent most of his time working in the pharmacy.
“For the most part, we treated everything we saw,” he said. “There was a lot of wound care that we treated for people who couldn’t do it themselves. They had a cut on their leg, or they wrecked their bike and they didn’t have the stuff to take care of themselves or the money, so they would come in and we would treat it.”
Schniederjan also said they treated a large number of HIV patients.
“For us, if we have a fever or cold, it’s not a big deal,” he said. “But the way HIV works, it breaks down the immune system and so a cold or fever to them could develop into pneumonia and could possibly kill them. They were very grateful for the cough syrups and the fever breakers because that was a big deal to them.”
After a couple of days working the camps, however, the group quickly realized the supplies they brought with them were not going to be enough. They raised some money among themselves then appealed to their home churches for funds they could use to purchase medication. The churches responded, raising several thousand dollars in a couple of days. The group was then able to purchase the medicine it needed to treat the patients.
“We would buy medicine every morning and restock what we had gone through the day before,” Schniederjan explained. “The money went a long way, but we saw a lot of people in a very short period of time.”
Schniederjan said the medicine that was left over was left with the churches so they could continue to minister to the needy.
Having had a few days to reflect on the trip, Schniederjan said it was definitely worthwhile and he will be participating in other trips when the opportunity presents itself. He said if there was one thing he learned from the experience it is to take advantage of those opportunities to help others as they come along.
“Living in America and having such a blessed life, we have a lot of opportunities to do good and influence a lot of people,” he said. “When you are offered opportunities, you need to take them and run with them. It’s a bid domino effect and it starts with you. If you knock down that first domino, you are going to end up affecting that many more people.”
Schniederjan will return to Wayland, where he has approximately three semesters left to complete his education. Then, the plan is to head to medical school. In the meantime, however, he hopes to make at least one more trip to Kenya.
The WBU mission center, along with Go Now Missions, sent nearly 40 people on the trip to Kenya. The group divided into smaller teams that worked not only with medical issues, but with orphanages, churches and in other areas where they could assist. The Wayland mission center will work with any church or organization that wants to organize a mission project. For more information on Wayland’s ongoing commitment to Kenya or to join a team, contact Dr. Rick Shaw at 806-291-1162.