Aspiring doctor heads to Africa


Jake Lunsford, Staff Reporter

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After volunteering at a summer program at Fauquier Hospital, senior Kaleb Scott spent the past year interning there, shadowing Dr. Jeffrey Joseph. This connection led him to embark on a trip to Africa this past summer. Scott works in admissions in the emergency room where he collaborates with doctors about diagnoses.

“I was really sick,” Scott said. “I was an asthmatic when I was a kid, so I was in the hospital a lot. I realized if I’m going to be in it, why not go into the profession?”
Scott decided to join Dr. Joseph’s medical mission trip to Kenya through an organization called Unboxed Lives. Its goal is to help the community by building schools and running temporary hospitals.
“I thought it would be a life-changing opportunity, something that would give me insight into what I want to do,” Scott said. “I want to do mission work, but I want to be a doctor. So it was insight on if I want to do it in the field.”
After getting sponsors for the trip, Scott, the doctor, and a few others stayed in the city of Kisumu in Kenya for 15 days.
“It was different every day,” Scott said. “It bounced between orphanages, visiting medical centers, and visiting groups of people. Our routine was get up, eat breakfast, get in the van, go to whatever we were going to do that day, stay at that activity until about 4:30 or 5:00, stay at the guest house where we were staying, have dinner, go to bed, then do it all over again.”
The first day, Scott went to an orphanage, bringing toys and matchbox cars to give to the children.
“We spent three days at the orphanage, so we hung out with them all the time,” Scott said. “I taught 300 kids how to play duck-duck-goose, and I taught half of them how to play freeze tag. My favorite thing was when we went to an orphanage and handed out soccer balls. The kids just started screaming because they were so happy. They had never seen a real soccer ball before. It was really powerful.”
The main project Scott worked on involved building the foundation for a school. They also had community service projects, such as Dress A Girl Around The World where the group distributed pillow cases that were made into dresses for the girls. Scott also experienced the culture and living conditions of the locals.
“Everything’s hand-made,” Scott said. “Even their houses. All the food is fresh. There’s no refrigeration, so everything’s got to be hand-made. They don’t get to see many white people, so they really favored us. When they think of white people they think, ‘Oh, they have money. They have something they can give me,’ and this is what we’re trying to deter them from.”
Dr. Jeff Joseph and Scott set up a temporary hospital, bringing all the medicines with them. The medical team primarily treated malaria and pneumonia, and they delivered several babies. Scott wrote down all the diagnostic information for the patients, and then helped the doctor determine which medicine would be the correct one to treat the symptoms.
“It pushed me towards plastic surgery,” Scott said. “Most of the kids over there have cleft palates. It’s a facial deformation where the upper lip is paired with the nose. It would be a really good thing to go over there because they don’t have any medical care to get them fixed. So most kids will grow up, and they can’t get the correct nutrients from breast feeding or regular eating, so they just end up dying at a young age.”
Scott currently plans to pursue a career as a plastic surgeon traveling to third world countries. He wants to go back to Africa next summer.
“[The lesson I learned was] don’t take anything for granted,” Scott said, “Nothing. Because there are people out there that don’t have the stuff we have, and it’s just unbelievable.”