I’m Going To Africa

By virtue of the title of this post, I’m sure you’ve gathered that I’m going to Africa.  An opportunity to volunteer on a medical mission with a Cameroonian General Surgeon into the African jungle fell into my lap and I took it. The University of Vermont helped pay for the airfare, Dr. Georges Bwelle (the surgeon) will host me, and my family will be taking care of the other expenses. All of that is great but this trip is an opportunity to do a lot more, and this is where I need everyone’s help.

The Project

A little known grassroots effort has been run by Dr. Georges Bwelle out of Yaounde, Cameroon for the past 10 years. Every Friday during dry season he hires or borrows a van, loads it up with a team of volunteers, donated (or bought) medical supplies, and hits the road.

They head for some of the poorest villages in the country and set up a makeshift “hospital” to provide locals with consultations, treatments, even surgeries under primitive conditions – all of this at no charge. On Sunday evening they drive back, so that Dr. Georges can make it back to work in the Central Hospital of Yaounde.

Next Friday they do it all over again. A different village, different group of volunteers, but same Dr. Georges. He keeps going for about 9-10 months a year, every weekend.

My Role?

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know exactly. The medical teams are small groups of 6-12, so I’m bound to do a little of everything.  Past volunteers with no medical experience were administering injections, assisting in the operating room, and working the pharmacy.  This medical mission will be a great opportunity to provide a huge helping hand even with my limited medical experience.

You might ask, “Mike, what kind of help do you need?”

Money. Whatever you can give will be certain to go a long way, even if it’s only $5 or $10.

All funding for the missions comes from Dr. Georges’ pay at the hospital (doctor’s make much less than they do here), and from sporadic donations from various folks. Everything goes toward helping people who need it. There is no overhead, no administrative staff, no fancy color brochures or interactive DVD presentations.

But you said you got it all covered? What the … ?

Yes, I am all set, but Dr. Georges is struggling right now with his missions because of a lack of funding. In fact, he just had to cancel one of the biggest trips of the year. Dr. Georges offered to put me up for a month, so helping raise funds for his great cause is the least I can do.  Bringing funds for this project is guaranteed to make a huge difference in the health and education of local people, and will help sustain a great cause.

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