SILVER SPRING, MD (June 29, 2012) - Deborah Andes, a physical therapist at Riderwood retirement community in Silver Spring, is going to Ghana at the end of July on a two-week volunteer dental and medical mission to help establish a school clinic there.
Andes will travel with donated knee braces, wrist braces, finger splints, walkers, canes, crutches and a wheelchair to issue to those in need. Once in Ghana she will treat muscular problems - neck, back and hand and elbow pain and tendonitis - and educate people in proper back care and instruct them in appropriate exercises.
"Ever since I was in physical therapy school, I wanted to do a medical mission trip," said Andes, who holds a Masters Degree in Physical Therapy from University of Maryland at Baltimore. "I went on a church mission trip to Mexico years ago where we did painting and repairs. We also had a licensed therapist with us on that trip."
She will use her vacation time to go on the mission to Ghana, which is conducted under the auspices of the nonprofit Global Health Outreach (a part of the Christian Medical and Dental Association). Andes will pay her own way and also buy her own supplies. She cannot wait.
"I go because I feel like I am helping and giving back," said Andes, who traveled to Honduras a year ago to help people in that country. "The people are all extremely appreciative of anything we can offer. I get to see and meet real people and develop relationships.
"This is something that is not easily possible by stopping at a tourist spot of a country for a couple hours," she said. "These trips keep me humble and make me appreciate so much more what I have been blessed with here in the United States."