I am Because We Are: A Letter from Beth Hadi

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I have been a pediatric critical care nurse for over 15 years, and have had the privilege of working as an Ubuntu HEAL volunteer since hearing about the organization in 2010.  I became a nurse to help vulnerable children and those who were too sick to care for themselves.  I wanted to serve in underserved communities here in the US and Africa.  I wasn’t sure how to start in another country, so I began searching for organizations involved in Africa in local communities. 

I researched and worked with different global health organizations over a period of a few years.  I could not find one that had health as a primary focus or that focused on sustainable projects.  I was discouraged and put the idea on hold until I was invited to listen to a presentation explaining an organization that was looking for medical partners to help with their “inch wide, mile deep” concept.  It was there where I met Zane Wilemon and hearing him speak about the history of CTC International (CTC, now Ubuntu) was what I had been looking for. 
 
After a few conversations with the CTC team, I joined a needs assessment medical team going to Maai Mahiu in May 2011.  It was there where my entire life changed.  The team assessed well over 600 patients in 4 days.  The patients were all ages, from different tribes, and with many different needs.  It was our first time holding a clinic, and we did not have everything needed to care for most of the issues we encountered.  The feeling was overwhelming.  I know some were discouraged but the love I witnessed from the people in Maai Mahiu completely inspired me.
 
Since the 2011 trip, Ubuntu HEAL has formed and has had twenty medical teams from Austin, TX go to Maai Mahiu specializing in pediatrics and pediatric sub-specialty care.  We have children with complex chronic diseases who are managed well by these teams along with follow-up care from the Ubuntu Community Health Workers (CHWs).  The CHWs tireless dedication and passion focused on providing excellence in pediatric care is incredible. 
 
Ubuntu HEAL has had pediatric neurology, cardiology, dermatology, infectious disease, and emergency medicine sub-specialties in Maai Mahiu, Kenya.  Many families travel from all over Kenya to come to the clinics.  Providers from outlying hospitals now refer kids to these clinics.  So an area that did not have pediatric care is now leading the area with pediatric sub-specialties.
 
I have had the honor of witnessing our patients do amazing things.  Some who could not walk due to their condition are now walking.  Kids who have had seizures every single day for years have become seizure free.  Kids who could not talk are now talking, and kids who could not go to school because of their condition are attending because they now have their disease under control.
 
As a volunteer for Ubuntu HEAL, I am privileged to have worked with so many wonderful people in Kenya.  These experiences and people have strengthened my faith, helped me become a better mom, and have improved the way I practice as a nurse.  Ubuntu has changed my life and I am forever grateful.