One bucket at a time  pg. 5

While Dalhouse could not provide any funds up front, he accepted Ochieng’s offer to visit Lwala last summer.

“This was a reconnaissance trip to inventory what we would need to do to make the project successful,” he says. “I shadowed Milton for 10 days and met public health officials.

“For me it was a real culture shock. I realized that on my worst day in Nashville, I live like a king compared to most of the world. What struck me was the lack of infrastructure—water, electricity, terrible road conditions. But it gave me a better idea of the logistics needed.”

A team of villagers dredges sand from a nearby river to make the clinic foundation.
Photos courtesy of Milton Ochieng'
Dalhouse quickly realized a number of obstacles would have to be overcome to make the clinic a reality. “One of the chief challenges facing this project is the lack of clean water at the clinic site,” he says. “I saw children sick with malaria with no medication. The need I saw for medicine there is overwhelming.”

Global positioning

Meanwhile, demand among Vanderbilt students for international experiences was burgeoning. In 2005, only a few students responded to postings for volunteers to work on service projects abroad. “This year,” Dalhouse says, “it was standing room only.”

Because the Lwala clinic is not at a point that it can support a large-scale service project, Dalhouse and Gregory Barz, Ph.D., associate professor of Ethnomusicology, are taking about 20 students to Kampala, Uganda, this summer to work in a variety of clinics, orphanages and other settings.

Like the proverbial pebble-in-a-pond, however, the ripple effect of the Lwala Clinic project is attracting students from outside the medical school. Students, faculty and other members of the Dartmouth community have been raising money for the project, as has a new Vanderbilt group – Students for Kenya.

This summer Diana Lemly, a Vanderbilt medical student, Rachel Weaver, a graduating engineering major, and Abbie Foust, a graduating neuroscience major, will travel to Kenya to conduct a needs assessment for the village.

“We'll be conducting a ‘health survey,’ which means going door-to-door to potentially hundreds of homesteads, asking questions about water sanitation, women’s healthcare, and the family's health history,” Foust says.

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