REACH intern thrives in medical ministry in Ivory Coast
“I’m learning so much about the culture here, a new language, ministry and what health care looks like in Abengourou!” she said. “Our team’s host family, Ian and Kristin Isley and daughter Sofia, has helped us to adjust and feel right at home so quickly.”
Ashley and her team are serving at the PIM medical clinic and working with the Coeur Ouvert child sponsorship program.
“And as a way of welcoming the interns, the staff gave each of us new Anyi and Jula names. Those are the prominent people groups here, so these new names are easier for them to pronounce,” said Ashley. “My name is now Ashley, Ama and Bintaa!”
A major part of the first weeks in Ivory Coast was French language lessons with Papa Tro, a “grandpa” of the local church.
“The lessons are three times a week, and Papa Tro already has a special place in our hearts,” said Ashley. “I am so thankful for his patience with us and for how welcoming he has been.”
At the clinic
The renowned PIM Clinic is a focus of the CMF work in Ivory Coast and includes a lab, pharmacy, maternity care, social services for HIV patients and the infirmary.
“This past week I had the opportunity to work in the lab, learning how to draw blood and to test for malaria, HIV and salmonella,” said Ashley. “I enjoyed observing the day-to-day work of the lab and getting the opportunity to do such hands-on work myself.
“The staff here amazes me,” she added. “I’ve learned so much from them. Next week I’ll move to the infirmary to work.”
In the afternoons as the clinic traffic subsides, Ashley gets to spend time with the staff and the children who live near the clinic.
“Talking is difficult due to the language barrier, but the kids love coloring, so we spend a lot of time doing that,” she said. “Many afternoons also consist of sitting in the clinic courtyard practicing my French with the staff, making bracelets with the women and braiding our hair!”
So much in common!
Ashley has been continually amazed at the gracious hospitality she has experienced from the people she meets in the community in Ivory Coast.
“I’m so thankful that they are so willing to welcome me into their lives for the summer,” she said. “It has been really cool seeing more of God’s character in the people I’ve met here. Even though we live 6,000 miles apart, we have way more in common than we have differences!”
Top photo: Ashley and her fellow REACH interns were each paired with a “godmother” during their orientations at the PIM Clinic in Ivory Coast.