Straddling Africa's southeast coast along the Indian Ocean is Mozambique, a country that in the recent past has struggled from the constraints of colonialism, then communism and now poverty. It was to this country that Judy McQuown, Avera Holy Family Health OB RN, was drawn this past July.
McQuown went to Mozambique with Hope and Healing for Africa, a group that provides medical missionary services to the people steeped in poverty.
And the numbers are staggering.
McQuown said a third of babies born in Mozambique die at birth. From malaria alone, 36,000 children die every year for want of a 17-cent medication.
McQuown embarked on her mission trip to Mozambique with a team between ages 16-73 that included a doctor, four nurses and a translators.
"It became very apparent that God brought this team together," she said.
When 150-200 people greeted them at 7 each morning, it was with mixed feelings because the team's antibiotics and narcotics had not arrived.
One of the most heartbreaking stories McQuown told was of a woman who had twins. One lived, but one didn't. It could have been worse, though, the medical team was told. If they hadn't been there, two children and the mother would have died.
McQuown thanked Rotarians for their support of the program.
The country had just come through a major civil war. Poverty was at an all-time high. Despite that, the main concern of the people was how they could serve others.
"The less that people have, the more they are willing to give," McQuown said. "Their income is just set for survival."