Dr. Erin Baker: Mission Uganda

children in Africa

Dr. Erin Baker
In what she described as an eye-opening and humbling experience, one McLaren Macomb physician spent her Christmas holiday caring for orphaned children in Africa.

In a trip organized by her sister-in-law and facilitated through the non-profit organization Raising Up Hope for Uganda, Dr. Erin Baker, a family medicine physician with McLaren Macomb, along with her bother and nephew, spent six days (including Christmas Day) at the organization's orphanage in the outskirts of Kampala, the capital of Uganda.

It was fulfilling and very cool to see how this organization works in caring for these extraordinary kids, Dr. Baker said. It was nice to do something different and a very rewarding experience.

Bringing supplies and prepared to provide the children with medical treatment, Dr. Baker soon found that her assistance was also needed in other areas.

"I provided some care", she said, "but they really needed child care and people to help prepare meals, some basic needs that are very valuable to them."

Uganda has been battling issues related to overpopulation and poverty, especially in the growing number of its youth. Born into poverty in the nation's slums, many children are left to orphanages because their parents can't afford to feed them. This orphanage was home to more 100 children.

"It was one of the greatest Christmases I've ever had", Dr. Baker said. "The special gifts they got were non-commercialized items and they were so grateful: A new set of clothes for Church, a meal with meat, a soda and a trip to the park or a movie."

Playing soccer and volleyball and taking photos and playing games with her phone, Dr. Baker connected with many of the children. She's already decided to go back and hopes to return in a couple of years.