Lynn Calkins has been an Ob-Gyn Nurse Practitioner since 1992. Early last November, as she was mentally preparing for her second medical mission to Fiji, she began to consider what her next mission might be down the road. She’d had been looking at going to Africa for some time, first inspired when she read the book, Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese.
She emailed One Nurse At A Time to inquire if we were involved in any medical missions in Africa. Sue Averill, President, replied immediately explaining that we do not really go on missions, rather they try to support those who are doing so. Sue suggested a medical mission to Edna Adan's Maternity Hospital in Hargeisa, Somaliland.
Having read Half the Sky and watched the two-part movie on public television, Lynn was familiar with Edna's hospital and her personal mission to train 1000 nurse-midwives to disperse all over Somaliland to provide prenatal care, safe births, and teach appropriate newborn care in order to decrease the horribly high maternal-infant mortality rate. She went to Edna's website and learned more. She also immersed herself in Somaliland history, culture, healthcare via the library and internet.
At about the same time, several nurses from different parts of the United States and Canada contacted Sue wanting to volunteer internationally in women’s health. Sue connected these nurses via group meetings for the ones living in the Seattle area and later a Goggle chat that included the entire group. Soon, for before you could say, "Somaliland," we had an enthusiastic, energetic group of nurses looking forward to going to Hargeisa to volunteer, teach, mentor, support, learn in Edna's program. The team, Nurses for Edna was born.
“It has taken on a life of its own, with the terrific enthusiasm and support of Sue Averill and from One Nurse,” Lynn says, ‘That's my story, and I am exceedingly joyous that one little email has lead to this exciting adventure of generosity and caring. If Nurses for Edna can decrease the maternal-infant mortality rate by even one percentage point, it will have made it all worthwhile. And, from my previous mission experience, I know the nurses will receive far more than they give, even though they will be working very, very hard under arduous conditions.”
As it turned out, due to personal reasons, Lynn Calkins is not able to participate in the first Nurses for Edna medical mission in August 2013. She is, however, very much a member of the Nurses for Edna team and she actively supports the team as they prepare, gather equipment, and supplies for the mission. Most recently, Lynn led the women of the San Dieguito United Methodist Church of Encinitas, CA to knit 400 hats and blankets for the babies being born at Edna Adan’s Maternity Hospital! The Nurses for Edna medical mission team will deliver them in August.
One Nurse At A Time and the nurses of the Nurses for Edna want to give a huge THANK YOU to each of the knitters. One knitter at a time, one nurse at a time we are changing the world.