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Two employees from the College Station Medical Center have just returned from a medical mission trip in Africa. They were able to make an impact on the orphanage they helped, and gain a new perspective on life.
It wouldn't be easy, but the Med's Dr. Eric Wilke and medical student Lisa Williams couldn't wait to begin their trip. What they thought would be the adventure of a lifetime, turned into a life-changing adventure.
“To go there and see the people and how little they have and how joyful they are, it was just incredible and then you come back here and see that we have so much," said Williams.
Dr. Wilke and Williams cared for 250 orphans, whose parents died of AIDS and 500 school children. Some of their teaching was basic, like washing hands with soap. But in Uganda, nothing can be taken for granted and it was that kind of primitive health care that left a big impression on Dr. Wilke.
“A lot of diseases look very similar. We had no ability to test them, so a lot of your treatment decisions were based on a best guess. There were definitely limitations. Here we'd get a sample and send it to a lab and look under a microscope, but none of that is available," said Dr. Wilke.
“They never really received medical attention and so we had the opportunity to go there and help the children about sanitation and nutrition," said Williams.
The children's' meals consisted of only rice and beans and their water system is often filled with parasites , so Dr. Wilke's crew provided supplies to ward off infections.
“We stocked the clinic with a whole bunch of antibiotics and medications for intestinal parasites and things like that. We were also able to buy a lot of medicine," said Dr. Wilke.
Dr. Wilke and Williams say leaving the orphanage was difficult, because there was still so much work to be done. But they were just as grateful for the opportunity to help as the children were to receive it.