Ryan and I have served with MAF in Kenya for eight years. As a newly qualified Occupational Therapist when we arrived, I was always very keen to carve out my own place in this country where the health needs of the people are so stark and so dire. A few months of impatient waiting revealed what I had hoped - that God also had plans for me to work in Kenya, not just Ryan.
'I learned about clubfoot and how it can be treated cheaply and effectively without surgery if babies receive care early.' Anna Cuthel
I learned of the work of a paediatric orthopaedic mission hospital in Kenya, and volunteered there in their rehabilitation department for about 18 months, getting acquainted with Kenya's health systems, it's treatment of children with disabilities, and some of the common barriers that prevent families from accessing good medical care. I also learned about clubfoot, a congenital foot deformity common in Africa, and how it can be treated cheaply and effectively without surgery if babies receive care early.
When I was invited to help replicate Kenya's pilot national clubfoot program into other countries in Africa, I jumped at the chance. I served with CURE Clubfoot Worldwide as Africa Regional Manager for three years until the birth of our first child, helping to establish national clubfoot programs in seven African countries. Full-time work hasn't been possible since the arrival of our children, but for many years now I have been on the Board of I Afrika, a street kids organisation, helping with their development, partnerships and fundraising. This volunteer post that has filled any spare time I have while still allowing me to care for my family. It also keeps me connected with needs and challenges in the 'real Kenya', which sometimes can feel far away from inside the safe walls of our compound.
Although we came here for Ryan’s work, there was also a place for me. My encouragement for 'non-job-holding' spouses joining MAF is Ephesians 2:10 - that God has also prepared in advance the work that He has for you to do. In the needy areas in which we all live and work, it is abundantly obvious that the harvest is plentiful but the workers are few!
'For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works,which God prepared in advance for us to do.' Ephesians 2:10