Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Upcoming Mission Needs Your Help

Help support Ascovime’s major extended health and education mission from August 27th – August 31st when they will be traveling to Tiko, Cameroon and spending 5 days providing free healthcare and distributing school supplies to over 3000 kids and 200 teachers!  We all know how hard teachers work, but imagine if you don’t have the supplies to teach.  This is a large humanitarian mission under the looming presence of Mt. Cameroon that needs your help to provide these kids and teachers with the supplies they need for the upcoming school year, please donate here if you can.

Photo courtesy of CNN

Ascovime: The Mobile Hospital

For those that aren’t familiar, ASCOVIME is a small, grassroots volunteer organization committed to fighting illiteracy and disease in Cameroon and eventually greater Africa. The mission of Ascovime is simple: provide free medical care and education supplies to marginalized, destitute populations in the rainforests of Africa.

There are two major facets to Ascovime’s efforts: medicine and education.

Medicine

Every Friday during dry season in Cameroon, Ascovime loads up a hired or borrowed van with a team of volunteers and medical supplies, and hits the road. The team heads for some of the poorest and remote villages in the country where people may have never seen a doctor before. They set up a makeshift “hospital” and first provide locals with personal consultations, then prescribe treatments, and even surgeries under primitive conditions – all of this at no charge.

Education

During the fall months, Ascovime again loads up vans with volunteers, but this time with mostly educational supplies and materials.  Books, pencils, chalk, notebooks, backpacks, and anything that can help a teacher or a student to get a better education is distributed for free by Ascovime.  Currently, Ascovime is leading a project to give more children the opportunity of secondary education by providing educational passports required to enter high school.

In 2010, I volunteered in Cameroon with the team and was blown away by the experience.  When I returned to New England, I recognized the need to get the word out about Ascovime’s efforts to the North American public.  I decided to establish Ascovime.org and AscovimeUSA, help those who wanted to volunteer, improve press exposure, and assist with fundraising and logistical efforts.  As one example, check out the NPR story on Dr. Bwelle, the founder of Ascovime. This is an honest, volunteer-only organization where 100% of donations go directly to those in need of medical care or educational supplies.  If you’d like to volunteer, help in any capacity, or make a generous donation, please visit http://ascovime.org/donate.

-Mike

Mike Ursiny is a third-year medical student at the University of Vermont as well as a Visiting Scientist at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Department of Urology. His current research interests include dietary influences on kidney stone formation, healthcare funding decision analysis, and medical device innovation.

100 Donors and $5000!

Today, Ascovime has achieved two major milestones  with one big donation: 100 donors and over $5000 raised.  This is a nice goal and is a testament to the grassroots nature of this small organization.  Everyone out there is chipping in a little bit and helping get much needed healthcare and educational supplies to those in rural parts of Cameroon.

Continue reading ‘100 Donors and $5000!’

How Ascovime Operates

If you’re wondering how Ascovime does its work on the ground, this video pretty well encapsulates it.  The scenery, music, makeshift equipment and transport, and a jovial attitude are all represented in this fine work.  Credit to TristanChampion for putting this video together.

Ascovime Paris

For those of you that understand French out there, here is a nice little slideshow that was put together by the folks in Paris.  They are the original Ascovime and have been working diligently throughout the years to support the medical teams on the ground in Cameroon.  Check out the slideshow!

Building an Empire Through Third World Exploitation

Exploitation of the poor is a long standing tradition among empires throughout history.  From the Roman empire to that of Imperial Japan prior to World War II, killing and enslaving peoples in order to steal natural resources has been common practice.  And today is no different.

The American empire, built of collusion between the military, corporations, government, banks, and intelligence agencies, has managed to do the same as many empires of the past.  In the 1960s and 70s, our America was responsible for several assassinations as well as other orchestrated coups in order to install leaders that would be receptive to our interests in the region.  Today, we do this in the Middle East and Africa, with Cameroon being no exception.

Back in 2000, a corporate coalition led by Exxon Mobil started a project to build an oil pipeline from southern Chad through Cameroon to the Atlantic Ocean.   Continue reading ‘Building an Empire Through Third World Exploitation’

Big Thanks to Global Links and MediFree

Donations for Christmas!

I traveled to Cameroon, a country on the Atlantic coast of Africa, this past May and June on a medical aid mission.  Upon my return, others have kept spreading the word of Ascovime, Dr. Georges Bwelle’s grassroots medical organization and have also continued donating.  NPR did a segment of “The Story” with Dick Gordon about Dr. Bwelle and Ascovime which helped bring in donations from all over the United States.  Along with many substantial monetary donations, others have expressed great interest in volunteering and donating medical supplies.

School and Medical Supplies

Global Links and MediFree have been generous enough to send two boxes worth of sutures (over 200), gauze, catheters, spinal needles, iodine swabs, as well as school supplies for African children.  This was all facilitated by the work of another small organization called Sutures Are A Human Right.  Please be sure to check these sites out and support.  Thanks again to Global Links, MediFree, and Sutures Are A Human Right!

Dr. Georges Bwelle on Public Radio

Dick Gordon in The Story on Dr. Georges BwelleHi everyone, it’s been a while since I posted something. I’ve just caught wind of an NPR story about Dr. Bwelle!  Dick Gordon of North Carolina Public Radio hosts a show called The Story and will be doing a piece on Dr. Georges Bwelle.  It should air in Vermont on Monday 10/18/2010 at 2pm. Check it out here:  http://thestory.org/

Updated 10/18 – The Story is out:

The Story producer Anita “Bekang” Woodley was in Cameroon this past summer, with a tape recorder, looking for her own ancestral village when she happened upon the doctor by chance. Today, we’ll hear Anita’s story of returning to her village, and Dr. Georges’ story of bringing health care to rural Africans.

Blog posts from my trip to Cameroon, where I was lucky enough to join with Dr. Georges, are here. By the way, he can always use your help. Here’s how donations that we raised before my trip in the spring 2010 were used.

Thanks for coming in!

The Story producer Anita “Bekang” Woodley was in Cameroon this Anita croppedpast  summer, with a tape recorder, looking for her own ancestral village when she happened upon the doctor by chance. Today, we’ll hear Anita’s story of returning to her village, and Dr. Georges’ story of bringing health care to rural Africans.

Burlington Free Press Writes About Trip to Cameroon

Under the headline “UVM graduate discovers career in rural Africa” the Burlington Free Press printed nice follow-up article about my trip to Cameroon.

He recently returned from an intense four weeks in the African nation of Cameroon helping surgeon Georges Bwelle minister to those unable to afford medical care.

Bwelle’s base is Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, but every weekend during the dry season he and a team of volunteers head into the poorer, rural sections of the country to set up free temporary clinics. None of the volunteers are paid for their efforts, and Bwelle doesn’t have the money to recruit help. He relies on word of mouth and the generosity of others.

Full Article

Back in America

Stay Classy Cameroon

Quick update: I safely touched down in the U.S. after a 24 hour journey from Cameroon.  The flights all went smoothly and I’m back home in Vermont.  I didn’t have internet for a week so I’ll be posting more stories of my experiences in the next couple days so stay tuned!