Encore Volunteers Deliver Much Appreciated Nursing Textbooks
By Susan Stine on Wednesday, April 11th, 2012
In the U.S. we don’t give much thought to school supplies but at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital (MTRH) in Eldoret, Kenya, new resources are a cause for celebration and tea.
In 2010 Encore Volunteer Gene Marsh submitted a grant to the Shearwater Foundation to, among other things, provide the necessary funds for 20 textbooks for MTRH’s new advanced critical care nursing program.
Getting the funding for the textbooks would prove to be easier than getting the textbooks to Kenya! The textbooks could not simply be sent to MTRH, because in Kenya quality nursing textbooks can fetch a large sum on the black market. Instead, Gene sent the textbooks to another Encore Volunteer, Ruth Shiers (RPCV Tanzania, ’62-64), who would be departing for Moi University in January 2012. Ruth packed the 20 textbooks, weighing 2.5 lbs. each, into her luggage and hoped that her stuffed bag would not cause problems once she arrived in Nairobi. Luckily, everything ran smoothly and the cost of Ruth’s over-weight luggage was actually less than what it would have cost to send the textbooks directly to MTRH!
On the morning Ruth planned to deliver the textbooks to the staff of the MTRH Training Center she did not expect much, just a short exchange with one of the nurse managers. Instead, she was whisked off to a 2-hour-long ceremony in the ICU conference room! The Deputy Chief Nurse and other dignitaries were present, speeches of appreciation were given, and tea was served to all. Ruth also made a short speech thanking Gene and another former Encore Volunteer Angela Albright, for all the work the pair did to raise the funds for the textbooks, and ensure their safe arrival in Kenya.
The books were processed and added to the MTRH Training Center library, just in time for the 10 new students who started the critical care course on March 19th.
Since her time as an Encore Volunteer, assigned to a project sponsored by Johnson & Johnson in partnership with Moi University, Gene has gone on to develop the Moi University PhD Scholarship Fund, with the help of the Shearwater Foundation and private donors. The scholarship provides $5,000 to aid a Moi University staff member in attaining their PhD. Click on the link to read more about the 2010 and 2011 recipients.
Ruth Shiers is currently volunteering with Ruth Brink at the School of Nursing.