Mikenna Hojer grew up in De Smet and is a registered nurse at Avera De Smet Memorial Hospital. She recently returned from a mission trip to Zambia.
“It was amazing, sad, fulfilling, exhausting, inspiring, heart-breaking, rewarding, humbling, educational, incredible, life-changing, blessing, taxing, eye-opening and unforgettable,” she said.
Hojer said patients that she cared for moved her. Some that stand out are a little girl about 3 or 4 years old who looked like an 18-month old because she was so small. Her mother had abandoned the baby because she thought she had HIV.
Another patient was one of twin girls. One twin was healthy and big and the other sickly and small. Hojer said you could tell the differences pretty easily.
Hojer said another sad part of the trip was when the volunteers were handing out kits and clothes to the children, in the distance you could see other kids watching. The hosts told Hojer that the groups had already evaluated the others and only the ones that needed help the most were picked. It would have been nice to help them all, but there is only so much you can do, she said.
Hojer noted that there was a large number of chickens and goats in the area. She asked the host why they didn’t just kill the goats and chickens and eat the meat. She was told that the residents knew the importance of having goat’s milk and eggs on a daily basis.
Hojer was amazed when the kids remembered her name overnight. The next morning they would immediately start yelling it at her.
Hojer, along with seven others from Canada, Missouri, Texas and various other places, volunteered with Nurses for Africa.
Posted on 10-29-2018
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