Every year Norwalk Hospital Nurse Gerry Nicholls and CT ENT ear, nose and throat doctor Robert Weiss, team up with a group of volunteers and local doctors to provide free medical care to the Konso tribe in Ethiopia.
The effort is lead by non profit organization Ethiopia's Daughters, which works with Ethiopian schools and communities to raise the standard of living by providing clean water, medical assistance, educational programs and infrastructure. In the last 8 months, the newly formed non profit has raised nearly $20,000.
"Ethiopian's doctors would expect to earn $20 a week," said Nicholls. "So there's not much incentive to have this profession, but we help where we can and we encourage them and we would like in the long-run to take some people under our wing and to help our education and try and keep what doctors they have there, working."
It's their third visit to Ethiopia, an 11-day trip that began on February 15. They tell us since nearest hospital is nearly two hours away by car, every day nearly 200 patients lined up to receive medical aid.
"We had a father who carried his young daughter for a day or more across the hills and arrived and the child is paralyzed and nobody knows why and there's things like polio, but nobody quite knows why and to do this the child needs to be sent north,"Nicholls said.
Nicholls says he formed the non profit when he witnessed the community's poverty as a tourist. What struck him most were the conditions among young women.
"They say if you give a man a dollar in the third world," said Nicolls. "He will buy something like a shirt or some alcohol with it, but if you give a dollar to a woman, she will keep it in the family. It's a better dollar spent and even though we do help men, we think that the best payback is to deal with women and girls."
"We're working on creating a couple of different teams that go back periodically throughout the year," said Weiss.
After officially becoming a non profit, Ethiopia's Daughters has recently participated in fundraising efforts.
For more information visit Ethiopiasdaughters.org.