Beacon of Hope Medical Mission 2019 began as an idea between three people, two nurses and one cardio-thoracic surgeon over dinner. This year’s visit to Kenya was the first medical mission that involved a team of 26 professional physicians, mid-levels and nurses from USA, who visited with a big objective:- to provide free medical and surgical services to the community living in Oloitokitok area in Kajiado County. Oloitokitok is approximately 255 kilometers by road, southeast of Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The free medical Camp was set up at Oloitokitok Sub County hospital. It started on 14th September 2019 and ended on 20th September 2019 and within this period, the medical team together with the hospital staff managed to attend to about 1000 patients and performed 41 surgeries.
The residents of Kajiado county are the Maa community who are well known for their interesting cultural practices, way of life, dressing style, songs and dances. They keep huge herds of cows, which is a sign of prestige and a source of food. They are pastoral and so they move from place to place with their animals in search of water and greener pastures . Hundreds from the community showed up at the hospital to receive free medical aid from the Beacon of hope team.
On the last day of the mission, the team visited Evergreen Primary school- a local primary school- which is about 0.5 kilometers from the hospital. They took with them a number of gifts for the kids including candy treats, learning and sports stationary and supplies. The team had a wonderful chat and play time with the kids and you could tell how happy the kids were to host and interact with the team at their school grounds.
After 6 busy days at the hospital, the day after was a day to unwind and relax before embarking on a 4 Days Safari at Amboseli National Park which is about 30 min drive from Sopa lodge where we had been staying the whole time. At Mid morning hours that day, we visited the Maasai village- not far from the lodge- for cultural experience and souvenir shopping. Dancing to the Maasai folk songs, learning their way of life, cultural practices and interesting stories was most fascinating experience. One interesting fact about the dance is that- the higher a man can jump when dancing, determines the number of wives he can marry…!!. The bride price is paid with “agreed” number of cows and goats and is paid to the bride’s family.
Finally, the long awaited 4 days/3 nights safari to Amboseli National Park was here. Amboseli is a Maa language word that means ‘salty dust’. The park is 390 square kilometers, lying close to the Kenya -Tanzania border located at the floor of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain. Amboseli is home to vast Elephant herds among hundreds of other wildlife and bird species and which can be seen behind magnificent snow – capped Mount Kilimanjaro. This scene offers amazing opportunities for stunning photography sessions and the best wildlife-viewing experiences in the world. We stayed at Ol Tukai lodge which is one of the best lodges located within the park, offering a great wildlife and Mt Kilimanjaro view. We had morning and evening game drives in the park in pursuit of the wildlife. Elephant herds, Lions, Serval cat, Buffaloes, Hyenas, Warthogs, Giraffes, Hippos, Wildebeest, Zebras, Impalas, Gazelles, Ostriches, notorious resident Baboons, Monkeys and variety of land and aquatic birds were some of the animals we saw on the drives.