“My name is Don Sunday Ogolla. I was born on October 13, 1988 on the Nyakach Plateau, Nyakach district, Nyanza province of Western Kenya. My lovely parents are Pastor Habil Ogolla and Queen “Mama Faith” Ogolla. I thank God so much that I was brought up in Christian family. I have attended our church since I was a very young child and gave my life to Christ in 2002 at age 13, when I was in Class 8 at the end of primary school.
God blessed me with good results in my academics at all levels and my mother and father were very happy and grateful to God. Their love for me had no limits. I secured a place in one of our local boarding secondary schools. Joining this school was entirely the effort of my dad. He used to wake up at 3 a.m. and work wage-earning jobs before the sun rose so that he could raise the required money for my boarding school tuition and fees. God worked with him in a mighty way and I succeeded during my time at the boarding school.
My interest in becoming a medical doctor blossomed as a result of the low economic status of the people in our region. Where we live, many people are victims of infectious and chronic diseases, including malnutrition, malaria, cholera and tuberculosis. Many of these problems are caused by the poverty of the people here. As I grew up, I observed and experienced these problems in our rural community and even in our family. I began to think of how I could help the problems of these people. The solution, I saw, was to become a doctor. It is difficult to become a doctor in our country. There are only two medical schools in Kenya [University of Nairobi Medical School in Nairobi and Moi University Medical School in Eldoret]: admittance is very difficult to obtain, even with good marks in school, and the tuition is very expensive. However, I knew that becoming a doctor for the rural area where I live would be the best way to improve lives here. I worked very hard in school, but I worried that I would still not gain admittance to the medical school because I was not able to attend the best secondary school for medical sciences, due to a lack of funds. But, God blessed the prayers and hard work of my family. I worked diligently in my studies and my father, Pastor Habil, always went the extra mile so we could make ends meet. God continued to work in our lives in mighty ways.
My desire to become a medical doctor became stronger when I was sent back home from my boarding school to collect my school fees. At that time, my father was working at a local health center as a laboratory technologist. I went to the clinic where he worked to speak with him. Vividly, I can recall the situation that day at the clinic and the mess that was at that health clinic at that time. There were too many patients and too few services offered. That clinic was the only one on the Nyakach Plateau at the time. Many sick people walked for many kilometers to get the services offered there. It took me a very long time to see my dad that day because I became so absorbed in pity for the patients in the clinic waiting area. I talked with many of them and asked them questions about their conditions and experiences with doctors. When I talked with them, many began crying because they were sick and unable to see the doctor often. They also expressed to me that they did not have a relationship with their physician because he was a very busy man, caring for so many people on the Plateau. It was very painful to see such a large group of people whose conditions were only managed by cheap pain medications because they could not afford other medicines or treatments. I had great compassion on these people of my community.
Finally, I met with my father at the clinic and we talked about my school fees. I also expressed to him how strongly I felt about my destiny to become a doctor. At this time, we prayed for God to provide.
Many years later, I am now a 4th year student in the School of Medicine at the University of Nairobi thanks to the financial blessings of a wonderful woman in Colorado who is a friend of Straw to Bread. She heard my story from Mama Lisa Baker and pledged to support me in my medical studies. When Mama Lisa told her my story, she said, “I have too much. I understand that the presence of a physician in this part of Kenya could make a difference for generations to come. I always wanted to go to medical school, but I could not. I want to pay Don’s way.” I am so very grateful to God for her gift, as it will bless many sick people in the future.
Medical school in Kenya is a six-year course: five years in classroom followed by one year of working in the hospitals on clinical rotations. As mentioned before, medical school admittance requires top grades and it is very expensive to attend, purchase books and pay for living expenses. I am absolutely blessed to be one of the students here. My favorite course is pathology, which has units including anatomic pathology, clinical chemistry, hematology and immunology. The subject of immunology has been my absolute favorite!
My hope to change lives lies deeply in the rural area where I come from. Immediately after my graduation from medical school in 2014, I will receive the certificate to practice as medical practitioner. I will go back to my village to provide the medical services that are desperately needed by the people there. The plan to build the Bethlehem Home Health Center will be of great importance to make this dream a reality. I believe in a God who continually helps Dr. Lisa Baker and the entire Straw to Bread community to help us here to have better lives. So many people work with us here to improve health, education and business, which helps us to have better lives. May God bless you all very abundantly.
I pray earnestly for this clinic, and I believe that when time comes, God will provide the funding for the clinic in which I plan to work. In this clinic, we will provide the best services regardless of any economic background of the patients who come there. I pray to God that he may bless us all even as we strive to do the work that God has put in our hands while on this earth. May God bless and sustain us all.”
Don Sunday Ogolla
November 14, 2012
Since Dr. Ogolla wrote this piece in 2012, Straw to Bread has enabled the building of Bethlehem Home Hospital, which opened on October 21, 2016. To find out more, please visit this page.