AGCI’s VP of International Programs, Kiersten Luginbill, is currently in Gambella Ethiopia at our Hannah’s Hope partner home! Follow her journey to learn more about AGCI’s work in Ethiopia.
Midway through our time in Gambella, we had a rude awakening. We arrived at our Hannah’s Hope partner home to find several children had spiked a fever and were suddenly suffering from nausea, vomiting and disorientation. Watching so many children suddenly struck by a terrible illness is gut wrenching. It happens fast and you can feel the illness creeping in and taking over. It is hard not to be paralyzed by worry. I’m sure those of you who are parents can especially resonate with those feelings of helplessness.
After giving the children multiple baths to cool them down and basic medication, we knew the problem was larger than we could tackle. June marks the beginning of the rainy season in Ethiopia and Gambella is particularly at a high risk area for malaria during this time. Immediately we knew we have to take action fast.
When children are sick in Gambella it’s hard not to be very anxious especially because the care at the local hospital is notoriously poor, filled with misdiagnosis and unsanitary conditions. Furthermore, the number of people on any given day trying to be seen by a physician at the Gambella hospital is staggering. Droves of people wait outside the office all day waiting to be seen. We did not have that kind of time.
Earlier in the week, our AGCI Ethiopia staff and I had been researching other churches or NGOs in Gambella in hopes of continuing to grow our connections in the region. I had stumbled on the blog of a missionary couple serving with the Anglican church in Gambella and read she was a practicing physician. Although I wished the circumstances had been different, this was definitely the time to go and make an introduction.
After asking to see if anyone in town knew of the “Ferengi” missionaries, we were led out just past the town limits to a beautiful gated compound. We walked in and introduced ourselves and asked if Dr. Wendy might offer some help. She listened patiently as we shared about the specific children who were ill and their symptoms. It’s hard to describe the feeling of total peace I had in that meeting, knowing God had given us this resource in a time the kids needed it the most. Within 30 minutes we had a written prescription for malaria medication, instructions for a home remedy for replenishing fluids and the chance to pray with these beautiful strangers for the health of the children they had never met.
We administered the medication that night and by the next morning fevers had lifted and the kids were noticeably happier, healthier and on the mend. What a relief and answer to prayer!
This is why we believe in sponsorship! Being able to provide children with life saving medical attention, no questions asked, is one big reason why our sponsorship program exists. If you would like to learn more about how you can help, please visit our AGCI sponsorship page.