The trip: 2,476 miles. The destination: Guyana, South America. The reason: Another Rufty philanthropy project to help the underserved. Our CFO Kelly Nicholson recently took part in a mission trip with Truth for Today Medical Missions.
Kelly and her team of missionaries spanned four different locations in five days, joining Dr. Greg Waller to host medical and vision clinics serving the local Guyanese families.
Following up with her after the trip, Kelly said the mission offered many blessings, even if it started off with quite a few obstacles. The biggest - some of the team’s medical supplies were declined in Texas and had to be left behind. Thankfully, other supplies were cleared.
When they arrived Kelly and the team were greeted by locals, who were kind and helpful, which only made them more eager to start their medical and vision clinics.
It was no small job loading all the medications, glasses, and equipment into the various means of transportation, said Kelly.
“First off, we had to take a van to the local port, because the only way we could access the four different clinics we were visiting was by boat,” she said. “The clinics were located on islands along the Essequibo River, which is Guyana’s largest waterway at more than 600 miles long.”
The boat ride to the first island was about 20 minutes and the walk to the villages was close to one-half mile. The clinics were very simple and half of them did not have electricity — a humbling experience, especially when practicing medicine.
During their first night, Kelly said, “They had some of the heaviest rains ever. Come to find out, it was during what they called a ‘100-year flood.’”
Kelly went on to share that the rain’s flooded their hotel’s entire first floor. She and her team had six inches of water to wade through in order to get out of the hotel.
Add to that, several roads were partially or completely flooded on their way to the clinic site. However, the trek would be worth it. When they arrived, 30 people were waiting for the opportunity to be screened. People continued to visit and the team ended up serving 180 patients at the eye clinic in a single day.
Over the five-day trip, Kelly and her team saw many locals and gave aid to over 700 patients. They made friends with the people of Guyana, some of whom welcomed them into their homes to cook them dinner.
“It was such a blessing to be welcomed into their homes and enjoy the company of ‘family’ after working so hard all day,” said Kelly.
This speaks volumes for the impact of the mission trips and community service we’re encouraged to participate in here at Rufty Homes. Whether we're here in the Triangle or on the other side of the world, nothing quite compares to a welcome home and the comfort of family.