Ken Clark has accomplished many things in his life including travels to many countries for work, vacation and most recently, humanitarian missions.
“I can remember when I was 8 years old and being woken in the dead of night by the shrill whistle of a distant locomotive. I would stand on my bed and watch as a great light in the distance slowly grew ever larger,” Clark said. “As the train passed from across the river and the whistle blew from behind that great white light, I’d wonder where that freight train was going, what it was hauling, and that one day, I’d be going to interesting places, too.”
Clark, 62, of Ligonier Township served as a pastor of the Waterford Christian Church in the 1990s. He was a civilian convoy truck driver in Iraq and he co-authored a children’s book.
He said this mix of life experiences has led him to a passion to help others in need.
Recently, Clark took the microphone at a Mellow Mike session at the Ligonier Tavern and read a poem, “Hearts,” he first wrote for his wife several years ago. He modified the poem to reflect his emotions for his upcoming mission to help those in need in Kenya, Africa.
“My heart has traveled many roads,” he said. “I have been to the Middle East, Australia and many European countries. I will be 63 in March. I am at a time in my life when I want to do something to help other people. I feel the need to reach out and so something more.”
Clark launched a fundraiser on Feb. 1 on the crowd-funding website INDIEGOGO. His goal is to reach $5,000 in 40 days for the Masai Medical Clinic.
“I will be there for two to four weeks with Institute for Field Research Expeditions, a volunteer abroad program established in 2005. I will volunteer in a remote rural medical clinic serving the Masai tribal people of the Great Rift Valley,” Clark said.
After the fundraising campaign ends, the contributions will be forwarded to Clark. He will take the funds to Kenya where they will be converted to Kenyan shillings and used to purchase the needed supplies — medications, vaccines, antibiotics and surgical supplies.
Clark said a worker from the Ewaso Medical Clinic will take him from Nairobi to the clinic located about 47 miles west of Nairobi in the heart of Masai Land. He will also work on some community projects in Nairobi.
“This clinic serves the poorest of the poor. There is no clean water. Hot water comes by way of the fire out back. People walk from three to 35 miles and more to receive basic medical care,” Clark said.
The clinic serves more than 50 patients a day.
“Half of all children born to the Masai die before the age of 2. A child is not recognized as such until three moons have passed. This is because of the incredibly high mortality rate — a result due to the lack of medicine and accessibility to basic preventive medical care. Something we all take for granted, yet a miracle to others less fortunate,” Clark said.
Clark said he will be personally funding the cost of his trip to and from Kenya. All the money collected through the fundraiser will go to the clinic.
To contribute, go to indiegogo.com, type in the search bar in the upper right corner the words Masai Medical Mission to make a donation.
“This is an opportunity to reach out and touch a culture, a tribe, another human being in desperate need in a substantial way and offer the hope and healing they deserve,” Clark said.
Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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