Our very own Nurses En Route volunteer, Kelly Montgomery, an adult health nurse in Austin, Texas (and Steph's college roommate) wrote her reflections about our trip to Mozambique last year. Kelly taught in Nampula, all while providing IT support, snapping a million priceless photos, and making sure we all stayed hydrated. (Special congrats: Kelly is newly married!) Thank you, Kelly. Here is a letter she wrote to donors and supporters about her experiences:
I wrote this at the beginning of 2020 but then LIFE happened and I didn’t send it out with photos. Please forgive the long delay and THANK YOU AGAIN for your support on my trip to Mozambique last year. Read on…
I’m sending this out to those of you who were so generous last year by supporting my medical mission trip to Mozambique, Africa in October 2019 with Nurses En Route. Obrigada (Thank you in Portuguese)!
I’ve finally put together a little something to show you the highlights from the trip and hopefully give you a glimpse of how you were able to impact the people in Mozambique with your donations to me and my team.
I joined a team of 7 NICU and L&D nurses put together by my friend Stephanie Krall and her non-profit Nurses En Route. I had only met several of the team a few weeks before. We met three more medical providers once we arrived in Africa who joined us for part of our stay. Overall, it was quite an overwhelming trip in many ways. Africa was sensory overload – experiencing a different country, not knowing the language, always watching out for safety with physical fatigues of jet lag, heat/dust exposure, new foods and NOT drinking the tap water, all while teaching 6 full days of neonatal resuscitation and neonate survival material to 3 sets of classes (even more overwhelming, not being a ‘baby nurse’ myself). Phew!
We were blessed by the surprise of an overnight beach stay on Mozambique Island about halfway through our trip. It was an adventure getting there and getting back to our hotel again in Nampula (no AAA roadside service), but the getaway was a welcome respite.
Despite so many potential and real barriers we faced, and how difficult the trip was in general for me, our mission was accomplished! We were able to train approximately 85 students, including medical and nursing students at UniLurio as well as hospital staff at a Marrere Hospital. We donated a ton of medical supplies to the hospital and university as well as training material that can be used by those we taught to educate more professional and lay health workers in Mozambique. We heard from one of the nursing students the day after she completed our course that she was able to utilize her training to help a newborn baby breathe during her labor and delivery rotation. Hooray!!
The Helping Babies Breathe and Essential Care for Small Babies curriculum we taught included hands-on skills training. Being a small group leader for a table of students every 2 days was the most satisfying experience for me as I was able to get to know a handful of the class more closely (with and without a translator!). And best of all, we were able to make two great new friends in Alexandre and Diclas, our amazing Mozambican Portuguese translators. In our desperate need for at least one translator, God met our need with the classic story “we met at a bar”! Alexandre, a trained English teacher looking for work, heard a few of our team chatting in English while he was helping out at his cousin’s bar next to our hotel and struck up a conversation. Diclas, fluent in English with a degree in Geology, answered the call from one of our nursing students that we needed help. Both indispensable and cherished once we met them. I think we will never know that full impact of our trip, the education we shared, and the relationships formed over those 2 weeks.
Many of you followed along as our team posted photos on the non-profit’s facebook page. Photos are a great way to share a story, so I have put together a page of photos to overview the trip from my perspective! I hope you enjoy the photos and brief descriptions. Thank you again!
Kelly Keith (now Kelly Montgomery!)
Helping Babies Breathe practice kit
Nursing school student class at UniLurio
Village Life (a few hours outside of Nampula)
Practice makes perfect with Mr Josh
Simulation - baby nurses in action!
Flat Tire on the road to the coast
Medical Student class at UniLurio
Our team and the dean of the nursing school, Leonardo
Photo Op at UniLurio
Marrare Hospital class
Working hard to get a good seal to help a baby breathe!
My table of medical students
Church turned hospital
My table of nursing students
Nurses love Nurses
Wash day in the river bed - sight along the road out of town
Friends at the beach for a break
Nampula sunset - view from our hotel
The flat tire that stumped many a man (no tools!)
Translators Alexandre and Diclas and our team after the last class