Miranda Collins, 21, of Macks Creek, along with close friend Lauren Hargus, 22, of Springfield, will leave May 22 for Homa Bay, Kenya, Africa, where they will stay for two weeks with a local preacher and his wife. Miranda and Lauren are in the same radiology program at Mercy School of Health at Southwest Baptist University in Springfield.

Two lake-area young women will be off to Africa later this month on a mission to help orphaned children.
Miranda Collins, 21, of Macks Creek, along with close friend Lauren Hargus, 22, of Springfield, will leave May 22 for Homa Bay, Kenya, Africa, where they will stay for two weeks with a local preacher and his wife. Miranda and Lauren are in the same radiology program at Mercy School of Health at Southwest Baptist University in Springfield.
And as the saying goes, this isn't their first rodeo. Lauren and Miranda traveled to Haiti and Guatemala last year in their pursuit of helping orphans around the world.
The Kenyan Olloo family runs Hope Children's Home in Homa Bay, a facility that houses 40 children who range in age from 1-18. The children have been abandoned, involved in child slavery and trafficking and left alone to fend for themselves on the streets. The Olloo family began taking children in to their church after they would show up begging for food, and following them home hoping for a safe place to sleep.
Lauren and Miranda plan to counsel the children according to their hardships.
"We plan to use counseling materials and the Bible in order to show the children they are loved and not alone," Miranda explained. "We'll also be taking medical supplies since both Lauren and I work in the medical field to assess the medical needs of the children and the town's residents."
They plan to set up a free clinic day for the people they are able to treat.
An especially bothersome medical challenge is jiggers, a common issue in Africa. Jiggers are sand fleas that burrow under the skin, lay eggs and multiply, causing swelling, extreme itching, infection and infected body parts. Jiggers must be cut out with a scalpel followed by medication to prevent infection.
"We'll also be taking as many tennis shoes as possible to help lower the chance of the children getting jiggers in their feet," Miranda explained.
Another challenge facing the women is to help finish a new boys' home at Hope Children's Home. The boys currently live in a metal shack with a dirt floor.
"Every time it rains, the shack floods and the children must remove their belongings and wait for the dirt to dry," Miranda said.
Through donations, volunteers have started building a new brick home with concrete floors. But a lack of funds has prevented the project from being completed. Hope Children's Home is not government funded and runs solely off funds provided by the preacher who works construction during the week when work can be found.
"We will be trying to finish the boys' home if funds can be met through out fundraising efforts," Miranda explained.
Another immediate need for the children is HIV medication. Twenty-five of the 40 children in the home were born with HIV and have not been taking any type of HIV medication on a regular basis, resulting in severe symptoms and infections.
"With funds, we will be able to set the children up with monthly supplies of medication through their local clinic," Miranda explained.
Children only eat two meals a day and the mission effort will provide the children with three healthy meals a day at least during the women's two-week stay. Children's HIV symptoms worsen when they don't get proper nutrition.
Miranda and Lauren will also be addressing the building of a well on the grounds of the children's home to allow them to have running water within the main home and to eliminate the long walk of retrieving water each morning from the local well.
In addition to the medical supplies, the women will be taking new clothing, shoes, school supplies and hygiene products.
Each child's personal and medical information will be documented with the hope of some day establishing a non-profit organization where people can sponsor children with monthly funds and communicate through letters.
"The monthly donations would go 100 percent toward providing healthy food, clothes, school supplies and fees," Miranda said. "Our hope is that by visiting the home we can assess their needs and get the word out to help meet these children's needs."