Ligonier man plans second Kenya mission trip
Between 2005 and 2009, Ken Clark, 63, of Ligonier did three tours in Iraq as a civilian contractor driving supply convoys. After 32 months and 522 combat missions, Clark saw a country in need.
“No matter what your political viewpoints are, Iraq was destroyed,” Clark said. “After I left, I thought to myself, if I ever get the chance to help build up a nation and its people, then I will.”
Clark has not been able to return to Iraq, but he is planning a mission trip to Kenya, Africa at the end of October. He launched a fundraiser in July on the crowd-funding website GoFundMe. Clark’s goal is to raise $5,000 by Sept. 25.
The Masai Medical Mission aims to deliver medical supplies to the Masai people. Clark will take all of the funds raised to Kenya where they will be converted to Kenyan shillings. Funds will be used to stock medical supplies— vaccines, medicines and antibiotics— in the Ewaso Clinic and the ZamZam Center in Masai Land. The $5,000 goal will allow both clinics to be fully stocked for six months.
“American dollars go a long way in Kenya,” Clark said. “The exchange rate for Kenyan shillings is nine to one. One hundred percent of every dollar donated goes to the medical funds for these clinics. I pay for all of my travel, living expenses, food and transportation for myself and the medical supplies.”
Clark traveled to Kenya earlier this year on his first mission trip. He spent 10 days in country and split $2,500 between three clinics, including the Ewaso Clinic and the ZamZam Center. In October, Clark will spend five or six days there.
“I have a better understanding of how to transport the supplies so I will be much more efficient this time around,” Clark said.
According to Clark, the Ligonier community has been supportive of his efforts. Clark attends the Mellow Mike sessions at the Ligonier Tavern to read poetry and spend time with friends, a few of whom have donated.
Though the Kenyan government considers the Masai a “treasure,” they do little for the Masai people to help them with basic human needs. The Ewaso Clinic treats 50 people per day on average. Many of these people travel 35 miles by foot seeking treatment for typhoid, cholera, pneumonia, HIV/Aids, tuberculosis and malaria. Illness is common among children, and nearly half die from diseases such as whooping cough, measles and dysentery.
“There is a lot of need around the world,” Clark said. “I am hoping to generate some awareness.”
To donate to the Masai Medical mission, visit gofundme.com/znsp24v.
Chloe Wertz is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.