Flushing Rotarian recalls medical mission trip to Kenya

NOVEMBER 01, 2018

Dr. Duane Allyn with Enoch, a Kenyan child he sponsors through the Kenya Relief organization. Photo provided

Dr. Duane Allyn with Enoch, a Kenyan child he sponsors through the Kenya Relief organization. Photo provided

FLUSHING — From its inception, the Rotary Club of Flushing has encouraged members to pursue the Rotary International motto of “Service above Self.”

Flushing Rotarian Dr. Duane Allyn has exemplified that calling.

Allyn, a pediatrician based in Flint, recently embarked on an 11-day medical mission trip to Kenya this September. While overseas, he helped to perform numerous medical treatments and examined children and adults before they went into surgery.

For Allyn, the trip represented his sixth time serving as a volunteer with Kenya Relief, a faith-based organization that sends around 20 short-term mission teams to Kenya each year.

“When you go, you get to meet wonderful people…and you get to give your heart,” he said. “Our presence there can make a total change in a person’s life.”

Allyn served in the rural Migori region of Kenya, which is west of the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. Here, Kenya Relief operates an orphanage, a school and a clinic with surgical rooms and a pharmacy.

Over the course of his trip, Allyn saw hundreds of patients and treated everything from goiters to high blood pressure. His team included three ENT specialists, a plastic surgeon, two residents and an operation room staff.

Allyn said that his desire to serve on medical missions was stirred seven years ago, during a time when he was dealing with depression and a sense of professional “burn-out.”

“My wife prayed and sensed God was telling her that I needed to return to my roots (of service),” he said. “She called a surgeon friend of ours, who then connected us with the Kenya Relief Fund.”

In August 2012, Allyn took his wife and daughter to Kenya for the first time. He said that the experience was mind-blowing because of the country’s dire lack of basic medical care.

“There was a young lady—probably eight or nine-years-old—who had been kicked in the leg and had her femur broken,” the doctor said. “My wife and I had enough money to have a rod flown over (from the United States) so that she could have surgery to repair her leg.”

Allyn said that the operation would have cost the girl’s mother $200, which is about 20,000 shillings in Kenyan currency. For perspective, the average Kenyan only makes $1 to $2 a day.

Filling Kenya’s great need for medical treatment, Allyn said, has given him purpose and fueled his desire to give back even more.

“I’ll do anything they ask of me over there,” he said. “It’s ‘Service above Self.’”

Outside of administering medical care, Allyn has also helped his Rotary district to raise funds for a new well at Kenya Relief’s missionary home in Migori, as well as bathrooms and a septic tank for the organization’s school. Altogether, Rotary District 6330—along with contributions from the Flushing United Methodist Church and a Rotary Club in Alabama—raised $26,000 for the project.

Back home, Allyn encourages medical students and Rotary members alike to get involved with Kenya Relief’s causes, whether through participation with mission teams or by donating.

As a multi-faceted outreach, Kenya Relief also welcomes educational, construction and evangelistic mission teams. To get involved or to donate, visit kenyarelief.org