Redding native dedicates work to medical care in Kenya

Nov 30, 2014 7:32 PM by Charlene Cheng

What medical care could you afford when you're living on less than a dollar a day?

That's the question that Juli McGowan-Boit struggles to solve everyday in Africa, and the them of a recent documentary spotlighting her work.

"For many of the people who are my neighbors, their families live on less than a dollar a day, and when someone becomes sick and they need health care it becomes a big challenge," she said.

A Redding native, McGowan-Boit first paid a visit to Kenya when she was in school to become a nurse.

"It was one of those things where it wasn't necessarily my vision to go and live in Africa. I was going to become a nurse, and I just saw huge challenges with health and with poverty," she said.

And five years ago, she took it a step further.

"This is Kimbilio Hospice. It's funny how we started with a one room little shelter that grew to a temporary facility, and with this we can have 24 patients, adults and kids. 24 hours a day this place is filled with people who desperately need a place to come to, and it's there," she said.

The hospice is the biggest one in the country, making an immense difference for the rural men and women suffering from aids, cancer, and other life threatening illnesses.

"I love this work. It's hard. There are days where I would love to be in Redding or some other place but I feel like it matters, and I have learned so much from the patients and their families," McGowan-Boit said.

The people of Kenya have welcomed her completely, and now, she finally gets to share their stories with the community back home.

"What I want most for people to come away with is that it's not so much about going to Africa or faraway places, but figuring out the things that matter even in our own neighborhood and becoming a part of them," she said.


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