Tammy Sidell recently went on a Fellowship of Associates of Medical Evangelism mission trip to Burkina Faso, a landlocked country in northwestern Africa.
The Batesville resident says her interest in the organization began in 1970. “When I was in high school and college, I thought I would work for them as a nurse. But then I got married and had kids.”
Over 40 years later, from Jan. 13-22, she was part of a nine-member team (consisting of doctors, nurses, a mechanical engineer, Red Cross first aid/CPR instructor, judge and FAME development director) that provided free medical care to citizens in two towns and surrounding villages in the African nation.
“The idea is when you reach out with medicine, you open the door for people to talk to you, and you can talk about God,” Sidell reported.
They saw 1,620 patients. “Some had little needs, like headaches and stomachaches. We saw some with rare tropical diseases. There was a little 8-week-old girl with her brain on the outside of her head and a child who had cancer on the jaw. Lots of their needs we can’t treat, but they will pray with you.”
While in Burkina Faso, “we stayed in the village with the people .... We were in a hotel, but I say that very loosely. We had beds on the ground and slept covered with mosquito netting.” The bathroom facilities consisted of a cement hole in the ground, she revealed.
Team members had to pay for their own travel and other expenses. To prepare for the trip, the Decatur County Memorial Hospital nurse had to get immunized. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a Web site that shows all the shots you should get before traveling .... and there’s a travel doctor in Greensburg, who can help with that.