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Senior embarks to Africa for medical mission trip

Senior+Kelsey+Blair+%28right%29+traveled+to+Kasungu%2C+Malawi+with+Bridges+to+Malawi+to+help+local+villages+with+healthcare.+
Senior Kelsey Blair (right) traveled to Kasungu, Malawi with Bridges to Malawi to help local villages with healthcare.

Senior Kelsey Blair (right) traveled to Kasungu, Malawi with Bridges to Malawi to help local villages with healthcare.

Submitted Kelsea Blair

Submitted Kelsea Blair

Senior Kelsey Blair (right) traveled to Kasungu, Malawi with Bridges to Malawi to help local villages with healthcare.

Hannah Grinblatas, Staff Writer

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Senior Kelsea Blair will be traveling to Kasungu, Malawi this April, where she will be participating in an annual medical mission trip, Bridges to Malawi. Bridges to Malawi is a group of healthcare professionals making a difference in small rural villages in the landlocked, southeast African country.

While on the trip, Blair along with students from Hudson, Marlborough, and Nashoba high schools, will visit two local hospitals.

“Basically we are going to be assisting any medical needs they have,” Blair said. “There is a big malaria issue there, so we are bringing a lot of supplies to help with that, and we are going with a lot of doctors [who] are going to be performing a lot of surgeries, but we are mostly going to watch.”

In addition to medical aid, Blair and others will be providing essential supplies to nearby villages, assisting in labs, and teaching in several primary and secondary schools. The students will also help at a nearby orphanage by taking care of the kids.

… I think when you are involved in taking care of people, when you are helping people, it’s energizing.”

— Orthopedic surgeon Don Hangen

To take part in the trip, students took a scholarship test, a medical student level exam written specifically for them.

Blair’s mom discovered the opportunity, which is normally open to Marlborough, Hudson and Nashoba students, through the Marlborough School District, in which she works as a teacher.

Don Hangen, an orthopedic surgeon at Marlborough Hospital, is one of the physicians leading the trip.

Hangen said that while he and other physicians will be performing surgeries and treating patients, the students’ presence provides valuable assistance to them.

“Our high school students have been incredibly mature and helpful, and we have always been incredibly impressed,” Hangen said. “They work hard when they are there, there is not a lot of recreation… But I think when you are involved in taking care of people, when you are helping people, it’s energizing.”

Hangen also described the trip as life changing experience, as many students decide to follow a path in healthcare or take care of the less fortunate.

“I realized I probably would never have an opportunity to go to Africa again and I also want to be a nurse when I get older, so I thought it would be appropriate,” Blair said.

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Senior embarks to Africa for medical mission trip