Corina Duarte: On a Mission
September 26, 2011
After hearing in one of her nursing classes about the trip sponsored by the Project Humanity organization, Duarte was quick to volunteer. That was followed by several months of working with the Nursing Department to make sure she could get course credit, and with the Center for International Studies to secure a scholarship to partially offset her $4,000 travel costs. Then, she set out for Kisumu, Kenya, for 10 days of what she thought would be a nursing study abroad trip at an established clinic.
“I was under the impression that I was going to be a student nurse, but it was nothing like that,” Duarte said. “It was just me and another nurse who had just graduated, and we were kind of thrust into the role of doctors. It was kind of hard because we aren’t actually allowed to do some of what the people needed.”
“I knew I wanted to help people, I just wasn’t sure how. But, after spending more time with my mother, I figured the way I could help people was through the medical field, so I became a nurse, too.”
“We had people bringing in X-rays wanting us to read them, but we weren’t able to do that,” she added. “We had to set some boundaries on what we could do, but we did help with medications and saw the major cases. They ranged from malaria to tuberculosis, ringworms and hernias. So, we were able to see what they had and treat them. About all we had were band-aids, gauze and antibiotic ointments, so it was hard.”
Much of Duarte’s work centered around the Echoes of Mercy orphanage in Kisumu. She also worked with other volunteers to secure some much-needed medical supplies for the village. But, it was not all work as she also enjoyed a two-day guided safari on the plains of Kenya.
“That was a lot of fun,” Duarte said. “I saw lions literally right in front of me. Also, zebras, giraffes, elephants, hyenas and everything you would imagine. We saw hippos, alligators and monkeys. It was basically like the movie ‘Lion King.’”
For Duarte, who is now planning a future in overseas travel nursing, the trip was just what the doctor ordered as she follows her mother’s footsteps into the nursing profession.
“My mom used to work in a hospital and she also took care of elderly patients through home health care,” Duarte said. “I knew I wanted to help people, I just wasn’t sure how. But, after spending more time with my mother, I figured the way I could help people was through the medical field, so I became a nurse, too.”
“I really feel like this trip was a calling from God,” she added. “I’m going to continue on with this program, and we are already planning another trip for Spring Break. We are actually going to try to build that clinic for the village and the orphanage. We are trying to recruit about 30 more people to go, so anyone who is in nursing, pre-med or even education is welcome to go with us. We are also trying to set it up so we can get some medical supplies to them on a monthly basis.”
The Nursing Department is also getting involved. Upon her return from Kenya, Duarte made a presentation on her trip to the department faculty, who are now working on a possible partnership with Project Humanity to send future nursing student groups and medical supplies to Kisumu.
When she is not working on her nursing degree or volunteering, Duarte enjoys time with her family, Bible studies and zumba. She is also a member of the ASU Up and Coming Scholars program and the Chi Alpha Christian sorority.
“I really like the family community at ASU,” Duarte said. “It is just so friendly here and so loving.”
Duarte is hoping to further that ASU reputation through her nursing and volunteer efforts.