Nursing A Dream: Couple Devoted To Developing A Clinic In Ethiopia

By Mitchell Kirk Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Ind.

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Rachael Drye and her husband are working on bringing a medical clinic to Ethiopia. Together they hope to use their nursing educations to help the people of the east African country.

Pharos-Tribune, Logansport, Ind.

A love of foreign countries and a rising boredom with the culture she had grown accustomed to contributed to Logansport native Rachael Drye's desire to see the world.

"A distaste for the consumer mentality left me wanting something else," she said. "I started traveling and realized where I belong: in another country."

That "something else" is currently a medical clinic she and her husband are working to bring to his home country of Ethiopia. Together they hope to apply their nursing educations to help the people of the east African country.

Drye volunteered to teach English in China before going on to do so in Ethiopia in 2004.

That's where she met Finote Asfaw, whom she'd go on to marry.

Low on funds, the couple eventually moved to Drye's hometown of Logansport.

Drye's younger sister was studying nursing at Ivy Tech Community College, a profession Drye said left her terrified with its blood and hospitals. But a desire to enroll grew on her and now remains the catalyst behind multiple degrees.

She followed in her sister's footsteps and studied nursing at Ivy Tech before earning a bachelor of science in nursing from Indiana University-Kokomo, where Asfaw received his nursing degree as well. Both also went on to earn nurse practitioner degrees.

They moved to Whitestown about six years ago, where they juggle raising their four children, continuing their medical education and working as full-time nurses.

Drye will be one of the last students to study midwifery at the University of Indianapolis before the school retires the program.

Asfaw is considering pursuing a nurse practitioner doctorate from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. They're planning to apply their knowledge in a medical clinic they're working to bring to Ethiopia.

Drye said Asfaw came up with the idea after being exposed to a host of economic opportunities upon his arrival in the U.S.

"For Finote, he came to the States and was like, wow, this place is incredible, you can do whatever you want to do," she said. Asfaw filed paperwork for nonprofit status, drafted bylaws, recruited a board of directors and WeCareEthiopia was born.

They hope to have it up and running within the next few years and intend to move to Ethiopia to run the clinic.

Drye said with her studies in midwifery and nursing background in pediatrics along with Asfaw's expertise in geriatric nursing, they'll be able to address patients on both ends of the lifespan and in between.

She hopes the clinic will help stem what she described as Ethiopia's high infant and maternal mortality rates spurred by child marriages and the complications that come with girls getting pregnant at a young age.

Drye said she'd like to make an impact not only on Ethiopian women's and girls' physical wellbeing, but social wellbeing by working to reduce child marriages through education about those medical complications.

With his geriatric background, Drye said Asfaw will address patients with chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Life spans are getting longer as Ethiopia continues to develop, meaning there will be older populations to take care of, she continued.

To donate funds to the cause, visit wecareethiopia.org. Drye said the nonprofit is also in need of medical equipment like ultrasound machines and laboratory equipment.

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