16th Jan 2017
CFO Gives Back – Larson travels to Kenya
Colorado Director Andrew Larson, CPA and wife Lindsey Larson, PA-C (Colorado Mountain Medical) traveled to rural Kenya in early November with a group of 26 medical and dental professionals to provide mobile clinics in and around the Maasai region of Kenya. 95% of Maasai people are illiterate and the clinics are typically the only medical/dental treatment offered in the region. Many Maasai walk for hours to get to the clinics and despite tremendous effort not everyone can be seen. Over 11 days, the group offered 6 all-day clinics and over 1,400 patients were treated. Leaving his beans behind, Andrew served on the pharmacy team counting pills and generally supporting his wife and the rest of the medical/dental professionals.
The most enlightening portion of the mission trip was a visit to The Olmalaika Home, a FGM rescue home and boarding school in Sekanani, Kenya (bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve). Despite being outlawed, Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision, continues to be practiced by traditionalists of the Maasai culture (and in 30 other countries worldwide where it is estimated 8,000 girls are circumcised worldwide each day — serious infection is definite and death is not uncommon). A polygamist and very poor culture practicing arranged marriages, the Olmalaika Home provides an emergency alternative for young brides (as young as 9 years old) who would otherwise be circumcised and married away to men they may have never met (as old as 70 years old). The “O” Home was built in 2013 and currently boards, educates, and provides permanent shelter for 36 young ladies with a current capacity of 48 and hopes for expansion. Raising awareness and educating these young ladies, who will then educate the next generation, is the single best way to bring an end to this age-old custom.
“The Maasai is a very beautiful culture, despite some hard-to-understand cultural practices, and the people are extremely happy and grateful despite having next to nothing. The trip was an eye-opening experience and glimpse into another culture. Providing medical care and serving the Maasai people alongside my wife was extraordinarily rewarding and impactful on a level that I have never experienced in my everyday American corporate career. It was a humbling honor to serve alongside the medical/dental team,” said Andrew upon return from Africa.