Year Joined MKLM: 2018
Ministry: Mababtini Public Health Ministry
Ministry Area: Healthcare & Health Promotion
Ministry Goal: To provide healthcare, education and resources to the most vulnerable residents of the Mabatini community, especially children with physical and developmental disabilities
While Mwanza remains one of the fastest growing cities in Africa, many of its residents are left behind by the development. Mabatini is one of the poorest communities in Mwanza and is comprised primarily of people who have come from surrounding rural villages looking for more opportunity. While there are healthcare facilities present in the community, cost remains one of the biggest barriers.
Furthermore, the services available for individuals with physical and mental disabilities remain extremely limited. Because of this sad reality, our program holds twice a week physiotherapy clinic for children who are suffering from physical and mental disabilities at no cost to their caregivers.
Since starting in this ministry, much of my focus has been on building relationships with community partners and helping with the operational side of our program. These duties include: establishing quarterly budgets, writing financial reports, working toward getting our organization registered with the government as a community-based organization, writing a constitution for our program and establishing a system to better track the outcomes of each of our programs.
I also accompany co-workers on home visits to children who are unable to leave their homes due to their disabilities. During a recent trek through the hills of Mabatini, we came across a little boy with a clear presentation of Down syndrome. My colleague, Justin, was able to locate his mother and ask if he was able to access any health or education services. During this discussion it became clear that this little boy’s mother was not even aware that he had a disability. She could see that he wasn’t developing like most children, but the child had never seen a doctor to be able to diagnose him. A few days later, this little boy and his mother showed up at our clinic. His mother wanted to know what we could offer to do to help her son, and to learn more about Down syndrome and the way it could be impacting his ability to thrive. The course of this child’s life was changed by this chance encounter.
A political science graduate from George Washington University Sam considered entering law school. He worked for a short time at the firm of Verrill Dana in Boston. But looking for more personal and spiritual fulfillment, he left the firm and began working for Waypoint in Manchester, New Hampshire, as an outreach worker for a program serving the needs of homeless young people. Sam’s time at Waypoint was both challenging and rewarding for him, and a call to service was ignited. While his work with young people experiencing homelessness was demanding, he credits the experience with leading him to Maryknoll Lay Missioners.
Prior to graduating college, Sam worked as a leadership mentor in Hartford, Connecticut and as an emergency medical technician on his collegiate ambulance service. He has also pursued his life-long love of politics by working on several campaigns, and for the New Hampshire Democratic Party. In his free time Sam enjoys reading, hiking, skiing, craft beer and, as of January 2019, learning Swahili.