A child’s first steps are a monumental milestone. The same can be said for an adult learning to walk again. As Amina took her first steps in two years, a huge grin grew across her face.
Cadet Mariel Orbita (right) helps Amina, an Ukun client, walk after years of needing a walker.
Amina is an HIV positive mother that ROTC cadets care for during their placement at the Ukun HIV/Aids treatment center in Tanzania. Ukun was founded in 2002 through the Ministry of Health and serves 82 villages in the district of Bagamoyo. Their total medical outreach is over 1,000 community members. University of Portland Cadet, Mariel Orbita, is a nursing major that volunteers at Ukun.
She described a usual day at Ukun as, “venturing out into the community for home visits.” She went on to say, “Each visit is very different and based on the individual’s needs. We help the client with exercises, psychosocial support and healthy nutrition.”
Sarah Antioho, a Wheaton College cadet and English Literature major, also volunteers at Ukun. Her experience was different because she is not going into the medical field and has not had any prior medical training.
“I learned a lot about basic medicine through working at Ukun. At first, I wondered what I could contribute but then I realized people can be comforted,” said Antioho.
Both Antioho and Orbita said that helping rehabilitate Amina so she could walk again was one of their favorite moments during their volunteer work.
Cadet Orbita stated, “Seeing the progress in Amina was amazing because she could barely walk before.”
Cadet Antioho added, “Different people need different things. You don’t need to be a medical person to make a difference. Some people just need to be loved.”