--All the best! Kathy Beth
The goal I have for each trip I make is to meet with the Phebe School of Nursing staff to share teaching materials, to educate staff and to learn what current needs exist for nursing education in Liberia. I feel that the future care of fistula patients is dependent upon Liberian nurses.
The second thing that I always hope to accomplish is to recognize the ‘plenty’ that we live with in the US and to figure out a way to share that by empowering without enabling my Liberian friends. Meeting with the girls and women at the fistula rehab center is very grounding.”
Charlie Mueller responded, “Having grown up in Liberia, her people remain close to my heart. I continue to look for ways that I as a burn and general surgeon can positively impact some portion of health care in Liberia. Our group works mainly with women with fistulas but the overall health care needs are great. Increasing health care capacity through collaboration with nursing schools, resident education, and working closely with our physician partners in Liberia can and will have an overall impact. This trip I am planning to meet and work again with our longstanding partners, Drs. Mulbah and Jallah, as well as the physicians and surgeons at ELWA and Phebe hospitals. My rewards come from teaching the teachers, helping support what they are doing longitudinally over time. And, I really enjoy going back to the land of my childhood, showing my friends and family what a wonderful country Liberia is, filled with warm and welcoming people. Finally, I just plain love the food!”
Kathi Gutierrez is the founder and president of Dignity:Liberia. When asked why she is taking this trip she said, “I am going because of follow up on Maternity Home connections, etc. and I am a driver.”
Becky Huner writes, “I work currently as a Neonatal ICU Nurse and a Clinical Nursing Instructor. I hope to build more relationships and also to define a path for our next trip. It would also be great to see about purchasing land for the future building.”
Erin Malmgren replied, “I have been a nurse for 7 years now. I started in the float pool and emergency department and have been at the Oregon Burn Center for the last 5 years. In Liberia, I am hoping to have my eyes opened to what working with little resources truly looks like. In the current state of healthcare, coming home with some perspective to bring into my nursing practice would be amazing. I know I could spend more time being grateful during my shifts at the burn center. I have enjoyed exploring and traveling the world for fun but I have always wanted to serve abroad in a medical capacity. Being immersed in a new community and culture does wonders for personal growth and I am excited to see how our time in Liberia can trigger professional growth as well.”
Caroline Cravey answered, “I’ve worked at the Oregon Burn Center for 5 years as a registered nurse. I’m excited to learn from healthcare professionals in Liberia and hopefully be able to share some knowledge I’ve acquired. I’m passionate about helping others gain the education and expertise they need to increase self-sufficiency and I’m really excited to travel with a group that shares those ideas. Traveling and providing service to others are two things that really inspire me and help me find meaning and I am so excited to be able to combine them on this trip.”
Nicole Swaney is a physician specializing in pediatrics. She did not have an opportunity to send me a response. I first met her on the 2012 trip. She spread joy everywhere we went and was very popular with everyone we met. The picture I used was taken on that trip.
I, Kathy Beth Stavinoha, have worked at St. Edward’s University in Austin for 18 years, 13 of which as a prospect researcher. I try to match the passions of individuals and giving interests of foundations to the needs at St. Ed’s. In Liberia, I hope to get very specific information to use in grant applications for our maternity waiting home. In addition, I plan to ask some of the fistula survivors to tell their stories in their own voices and share those on our web site.