Going from N.D. to KenyaNine senior nursing students at Jamestown College are busy preparing for a trip that in a few days will send them to the other side of the world. For the third time in four years, students will have a chance to practice their nursing skills in Chogoria, Kenya, a small African village about 5 hours northeast of Nairobi, the nation’s capital.
By: Ben Rodgers, The Jamestown Sun
Nine senior nursing students at Jamestown College are busy preparing for a trip that in a few days will send them to the other side of the world.
For the third time in four years, students will have a chance to practice their nursing skills in Chogoria, Kenya, a small African village about 5 hours northeast of Nairobi, the nation’s capital.
The students will leave on a 20-hour plane ride on Feb. 8 and return March 4.
Students participating in the trip are: Janelle Dahl and Ramie Simmons, from Jamestown, Mardee Schaffer, Selby, S.D., Tracy Rockhold, Aurora, Colo., Whitney Rassier, Ghent, Minn., Jessica Page, Milbank S.D., Melanie Haugen, Roseglen, N.D., Jessi Westlake, Penryn, Calif., and Bayley Bodien, Becker, Minn.
Also going to Chogoria is Dr. Jackie Mangnall, nursing department chair, her husband, Richard Mangnall, and campus chaplain Darin Namminga.
Chogoria is a community supported by the Presbyterian Church of the Northern Plains, which has worked with Jamestown College in sending nursing students for three years.
“They (the students) will experience much joy and happiness. These people (Kenyans) are very friendly and very happy for having nothing,” Jackie Mangnall said. “They (students) will also become more overwhelmed at times because of the effects of poverty and the effects of AIDS.”
The nine students will spend some of their medical time doing obstetrics, or work during pregnancies, and have the opportunity to sit in on surgeries, Mangnall said.
“I’m really excited to see the difference in practice,” Page said.
Medical conditions in Chogoria can be compared to the U.S. in the 1930s, Mangnall said.
Patients in hospitals in Kenya are in wards, not private rooms. There is no bedding, minimal pain medications, no disposable equipment, unsafe and unsanitary conditions because of lack of government agencies and the occasional live chicken running through, she said.
“What you do see is a lot of hands-on caring and a serious attempt to be forward with their medicine,” Magnall said.
The nursing students will be given access to the entire hospital, so they will have a wide range of patients to treat, she said.
Aside from bringing their knowledge, the students will also bring a gamut of medical supplies, toys and books for orphans. There are 650,000 orphans in Kenya, many who lost their parents to AIDS, Mangnall said.
“We aren’t hardly making a dent with what we are bringing,” Schaffer said.
Working with orphans and impoverished people in a land with tropical and water-borne diseases is something the students said they are looking forward to.
“It’s something not everyone gets to experience,” Simmons said.
While the students will live on bottled water, rice, beans and cabbage for more than three weeks, getting to experience another culture firsthand is just as exciting as providing medical care, they said.
“We’ll learn so much more from them then they will give us,” Dahl said.
The students have been fundraising for their trip to Chogoria for about a year and some of the money raised went for the supplies to bring over, but the majority of contributions came from community members, Mangnall said.
The Fish Foundation, a philanthropy group, paid some of the students’ airfare and donated $2,500 to both the nursing school and hospital in Chogoria.
Now that the funds are raised and the trip is days away, the students are getting various immunizations for tropical diseases like malaria and yellow fever, brushing up on some Swahili and learning to sing a few songs, Magnall said.
“Wherever you go they will sing to you and they want you to sing for them,” she said.
The nursing program at Jamestown College is looking to expand and start sending students to South Korea as early as next year, Mangnall said.
“The students want this experience, a global experience,” she said. “Nursing and health care can’t afford not to take a more global look at what’s happening, it’s an opportunity to look beyond and see global needs.”
Sun reporter Ben Rodgers can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org