Global Mission Work Supports Masai Women’s Health

A 15-year-old Masai girl stumbles alone through the doors of the Africa Mission Services clinic in Kenya. Her feet are dusty red with road dirt. Her eyes fix on the small birthing table across the room. Holly Green, Adventist Health perinatal specialist, helps her onto the table, no sheet between her and the faux leather mattress used in the center’s more than 600 deliveries in 2022.

The patient is in labor. There are no pillows or warm blankets to comfort her. No ice chips. No stirrups to support her. Green can tell by examining her that scar tissue from a female circumcision will mean a more difficult and painful delivery.

A few years ago, before the single operating room was built, Green’s patient would have had to walk 37 miles to deliver her baby. Now, through the support of local and international partners, a small, local clinic with a single operating room stands just off the dirt road. But as the area’s population has increased, so has the need for clinic expansion that will allow more women to receive the care they need. 

Through the support of Adventist Health Global Mission and time and sweat from mission trip volunteers, Africa Mission Services will soon open its doors on a new, larger Maternal and Women’s Health Center — a place where local healthcare providers can save the lives of more mothers and babies.

Green — whose day-to-day office is in Roseville, California — is one of the Adventist Health employees who has helped make the long-term goal of a new birthing center a reality. In November, she traveled with 49 Adventist Health employees and volunteers to Kenya’s Masai Mara, a land known for its wildlife and for being home to nomadic herders of the Masai tribe. The group took 10 days away from their routine jobs to participate in a medical mission trip organized by the Adventist Health Global Mission team.

Their work focused on the local Maternal and Women’s Health Center. Green’s small crew led classes with the local midwives, administered immunizations and helped during deliveries. Others worked in the equatorial heat, stacking bricks on the new two-story birthing center with the Masai construction crew. While 48 of Green's peers gave their time and labor, others are supporting the project from home with donations to Adventist Health Global Mission Fund.

“Global humanitarian impact is rich in the Adventist faith tradition, and this includes delivery of healthcare. I can’t think of a better way to experience a sense of vocation and purpose, a feeling like you are part of something important than by making a difference for others,” said Alex Bryan, Adventist Health chief mission officer, who laid brick at the construction site in Kenya. “It’s important to care about local causes, but just as important are global concerns. This work has the power to change the world and to change us.”

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Featured in: January/February 2023