The Health and Education Relief for Guyana (H.E.R.G) Inc, run by volunteer medical doctors and college students, sends medical and educational supplies to Guyana. The non-profit organization started eight years ago in January of 2000.
From August 10th-18th 2008, students from FAMU took an eight day trip to Georgetown, Guyana in order to help those in need and further understand themselves.
“It is extremely important to educate college students on the medical problems in Guyana,” said Dr. Wayne Sampson, one of the founders of H.E.R.G and Guyana native. “As a country, we need to be able to help where we can.”
Three doctors, including Dr. Sampson and a pre-med student went on the first medical mission to Guyana in December of 2000. The trips have expanded since then, and now students from both FAMU and FSU are able to work together on each mission.
Nakosi Stewart, 22, a second semester biochemistry graduate student, commented on the effect of the trip.
“This experience touched me as a person,” said Stewart, a native of Ft. Lauderdale. “It was bittersweet to know that we’re doing good, but that there are still people who require our help.”
Helping hands are few and far between in Guyana’s poorer regions, and many are shocked at the difficulty of receiving the most basic treatments. Many young children have never seen a doctor and the responsibility falls on the volunteers to provide a positive experience to children who have never received a basic checkup.
“It’s really eye-opening,” said Russell Motley, a third semester graduate student. “We went to some of the poorest rain forests and jungles, and the conditions truly were bad.”
A former news anchor from Jacksonville, Motley was invited to document the mission on film for H.E.R.G and relished the opportunity to see positive efforts outside the United States fueled by college students.
“This was my first time as a journalist outside the U.S, and it felt good to see what was being done. I could definitely go on another (mission),” Motley said.
Nakosi Stewart is now trying to start a H.E.R.G chapter at FAMU, in order to raise awareness and encourage other students to join in on the missions. He said his mission to Guyana only solidified his conviction to go above and beyond the call of duty within the medical field, and he encourages other students to do the same.
“We need to find ways to do more,” Stewart said. “I was one of the first FAMU students to go on a trip like this, and I certainly don’t want to be the last.”
Dr. Sampson, said he works his hardest to give the Guyanese people the care they desperately need.
“My obligations lie with my homeland, especially when in some places, the most advanced piece of medical equipment is an X-ray machine that may or may not work,” Sampson said.
For Motley and Stewart, they said the experience was as enriching as college trips can get. Both were able to gain a new appreciation for what the United States as a country has and for what Guyana as a country needs.
For more information on future medical missions and H.E.R.G Inc, visit hergweb.org.