Morinville – An MCHS student is on a summer adventure in Africa in the hopes of bringing hope to the people of Rwanda and Kenya. Sixteen-year-old Michala Fraser leaves Aug. 1 for a 16-day trip to the trouble-torn countries as part of Home of Hope, a mission program run by Red Deer church Word of Life. She is one of 18 people making the trip and has fundraised in excess of the $5,000 cost to make the humanitarian excursion.
Miss Fraser said she learned about the mission trip from her father Greg, pastor of The Father’s House Christian Fellowship. The two-week trip is an opportunity for the Morinville teen to put her faith, her heart and her career aspirations into practice.
“Ever since I was five or maybe four I’ve wanted to be a missionary doctor,” she said. “That’s never changed. It’s something I’m passionate about, and this is my first chance to start going and living that out. I’m excited.”
Miss Fraser explained the trip is multi-faceted, offering business knowledge to help people be sustainable, education for women to help them achieve self-esteem and some independence, and a healthy does of the Word of God to let people know they are loved. A large part of the mission will be to help children.
“We’re going to go into orphanages and give out gifts to the kids and hang out with them,” she said. “We’ll be doing a feeding program every day to feed about 200 kids. We have a medical program to help out with different situations, and we are building a mud hut for a lady who can’t afford to build her own home.”
But while the faith-based mission will have no shortage of humanitarian components, one part of the trip may have the greatest hope of saving and changing lives; finding children who have been cast aside.
“We have to go look for babies in a dumpster,” Miss Fraser said. “We have to go at four o’ clock in the morning with armed guards. We look for babies to see if they are alive, and if they are we take them in. A lot of the time the mothers can’t afford to keep the child so they just dump them in the dumpster or if they’re old enough to crawl, they’ve actually chained their babies to posts and stuff like that so they can’t move.”
Although the presence of armed guards is evidence of the danger of the mission, the fear of harm is less a concern to the 16-year-old student than the prospect of finding a baby for whom help comes too late.
“I’m not so scared of people coming and hurting us because we have armed guards,” she said. “I think I’m more scared about finding a baby that’s not alive. That would just be heart breaking. I don’t know if I could do that.”
But whatever tragedies and misery she sees in Africa, it is unlikely to deter her from her future plans of bringing health and hope to people in need. “I’ve always had a passion to go and do something like that, to be able to go around the world and tell people who God is so they can get that sense of hope,” she said of the underlying motivations for her chosen career path. “I’ve always been fascinated with the human body and that’s just another way for me to be able to help.”
The Grade 11 student is planning to attend medical school after high school to complete those goals.
Above: Michala Fraser poses in St. Jean Baptiste Park prior to her departure for Africa where she is on a mission trip in Rwanda and Kenya. – Stephen Dafoe Photo