Medical Mission to Zanzibar

On March 18, I will travel to Zanzibar with a select few healthcare providers for the purpose of a ten-day medical mission there. The trip will largely be an exploratory mission: we will visit multiple dispensaries around the island and work with the local providers to assess their wants and needs for both education and supplies.

Following the mission, the information gathered will be used to coordinate a 40' container of medical supplies from Partners for World Health (PWH), a non-profit organization in South Portland, ME. We will work with local authorities and providers to lay the groundwork for future missions, which will include the educational components requested as well as a focus on volunteerism and work exchange.

I have participated in four medical missions with PWH, the local non-profit we will be working with for supply distribution to the dispensaries. My fifth medical mission was with Doctors Without Borders (MSF). MSF had been my dream job for years, and last February I got the call that offered me my first opportunity to join the field. Within a week, I traveled to Uganda, where I worked for six months managing multiple outpatient departments (clinics) that cared for refugees from South Sudan. 

In June of last year, I was offered the chance for a much needed "holiday," which I gladly accepted. As many expats before me, I ended up traveling to Zanzibar, where I spent a week away from the incessant demands of being in the field. During those precious few days, I had the opportunity to meet Marina and Haji, owners of the Mangrove Lodge where I spent some of my time. Within the past year, they helped to create a dispensary in Chuini (their village)--filling a need that had previously gone unmet.

It is with Marina and Haji that I have continued this conversation with, and with whom I am working to plan and orchestrate this upcoming medical mission. We will bring with us several hundred pounds of supplies to donate, as well as a small and motivated team who will be working with the local providers to establish relationships that will embody an exchange of experience and ideas. In addition, we will be visiting the local school in Chuini village and working with them to implement a system that will help promote learning English as a second language.

Your help to fund this mission does more than cover expenses associated with traveling. It will help to open the door for lifelong friendships, for the opportunity to provide education and health promotion in a country know for it's beaches but defined by it's poverty. It will help to initiate a chain of events that will broaden the knowledge, experience, and opportunity for countless individuals. And most importantly, it will act as a vehicle for change--for good.

Here is a link with Marina and Haji talking about the Mangrove Lodge:


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Emily Gerardo 
South Portland, ME
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