Cathy Brabeck & Kristine Radtke Norris
Class of 2010
While most MSOE students spent their two-week holiday break at home with family and friends, nursing students Cathy Brabeck and Kristine Radtke Norris decided to do something more adventurous with their time off. Together with Project Kenya, a non-profit organization based out of Jackson, Wis., they travelled to Kenya to help provide medical assistance to several poor, struggling communities throughout the country. “I have always wanted to go to Africa, and I would like to work in international health when I graduate,“ said Radtke Norris. Brabeck’s objective was to use the skills she learned at MSOE to help as best she could, and to visit a Third World country to experience health care in a completely different culture.
Using the skills they learned in classes and labs on campus, the students were able to practice basic health assessments, read vital signs, assist in distributing medication and provide support and attention. “The most rewarding experience was playing with children in Nairobi and giving them much needed hugs and kisses. They often times don’t receive the love and care they so desperately need,” said Radtke Norris.
Both students received hands-on experience and learned valuable lessons while in Africa. “We learned how to work around the language barrier, how to asses skin conditions on darker skin, and learned the signs and symptoms of various tropical diseases like malaria. We also became aware of the many things that we as Americans take for granted, including clean water,” said Brabeck.
For anyone interested in more information, please visit www.project-kenya.org. While both students recommend this type of experience, it wasn’t easy. “The trip was physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. It took a lot out of us and the recovery process has been very difficult,” noted Radtke Norris. “But we learned a lot and made a really big difference in the lives of many adults and children. We will forever remember this time with them, and we know that they will remember us.”