Staff from Peace Arch Hospital

Staff from Peace Arch Hospital

On mission to help

Peace Arch Hospital staff heading to South Africa for aid trip

A bevy of volunteers from the Semiahmoo Peninsula – including Peace Arch Hospital staff lauded earlier this year for assistance they provided during the June 2011 Stanley Cup riots – are heading to one of the world’s 10 most polluted areas this month in the hopes of making a difference.

Catherine Mastine, a nurse who calls South Surrey home, said she is among 16 people leaving for the Zambian province of Kabwe on May 16, as part of a South & West Africa Mission (SWAM) trip led by White Rock physician, Dr. Lourens Perold.

With the help of donations and fundraising, they’re taking a cache of prenatal and children’s vitamins with them, along with medical supplies, Mastine said. The group will be working at Kabwe Hospital for a week, then will split into two, with one group staying in Kabwe and the other heading to smaller, rural areas of Namibia to follow-up on work done during previous visits.

For Mastine, the trip is a first, and she expects it will include medical-related tasks along with helping with under-construction housing.

Perold, who was born in South Africa and helped form the Christian-based SWAM, has been making similar trips since at least 2005.

SWAM works in Namibia, Angola and South Africa to address hunger and crime, and work with churches there to create a visible symbol of hope and love.

Mastine said fundraising for the May 16 trip has wrapped up, however, anyone wishing to donate unopened bottles of prenatal and children’s vitamins for Kabwe may still do so at Peace Arch Hospital.