Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Erick Langat; my story

Let me share with you Erick's story.  I find Erick to be talented, and hard-working.  We are praying to find a way for Erick to be able to attend Dental School.
     "My name is Erick Langat. I was born in 1979 in the village of Koijat just 80 km from Tenwek Hospital in Southwestern Kenya.  I am of the                                                       Kispsigis Tribe. I was raised to speak English, Swahilli,                                                        and KiKipsigis.

            In 1997 I finished secondary school in Kakibei.  Even then I was uncertain about my future, but applied to Kenya Medical Training College in Nairobi.  Despite only three open positions for KMTC per district by God’s grace I was accepted.  

In 2003 I finished my studies at KMTC and graduated as an Oral Health Officer.  An Oral Health Officer is trained to treat the basic needs of the Kenyan People.  I am competent providing patient care with dental extractions, scaling of teeth, dental exams, and community dental education.  

After completion of my training I entered internship.  In 2006 I was offered a full time position to work at Tenwek Mission Hospital. I took on the responsibilities of Tenwek Dental Clinic as Dr. Kuyaya the full time Dentist was to leave for South Africa for two years for masters training in restorative dentistry.

I have been content working at Tenwek ever since.  I am happy here as my duties include organizing dental community outreach, tooth extractions, full mouth scaling, dental exams, taking x-rays, and keeping statistics.  

Despite my happiness I feel like God has even more left for me to learn.  I want to expand my training to include fillings, biopsy, crowns, and root canals.  I have a heart for my Kipsigis’ people and felt directed to attend dental school to better serve them.  

Following God’s calling in 2007 I applied and was accepted to Moi University School of Dentistry (one of only two dental schools in Kenya).  I was unable to afford tuition.    Tuition at Moi University is about 450,000 KSH annually (5,800 USD).  My total annual salary would cover less than half that amount.  Student loans are not available for me here in Kenya.  

I sought out funding through Tenwek Hospital with the understanding that for each year of dental school I am supported I am bonded to the hospital for 2 years.  The funding was not available so I was forced to  defer my enrollment.

In 2008 I again sought help from Tenwek Hospital for tuition assistance unsuccessfully.  I was encouraged to apply to a more affordable dental school.

I have currently applied to Makerere University School of Dentistry in Kampala, Uganda.  The tuition is 200,000 KSH annually (2,500 USD).  I will be notified of my acceptance in August.

If I am able to secure funding for entrance into dental school I see myself returning to Tenwek Mission Hospital to serve the Kipsigis people.  I am a Christian and was baptized in 2005.  God has changed my life.  Before Christ I felt like just a human being, a person of the flesh.  Now I feel I am living the Christian Life.

While seeing patients I am lifted up by God’s love.  In our busy dental clinic with patients with complicated dental fractures and infections it is easy to be overwhelmed.  Jesus to me is about help.  When I am burdened I look to Paul’s words in Romans Chapter 8:31-32.

Kimwal nel anyun eng’ tuguchuto? Ngo mi Jehovah Komostanyom, Ko ng’one Kinndaech?  Inendet ne ki ma nire Weririyi ago Kigon inendet agobo achek tugul, tos magonech tuguk tugul eng’ aiybindo koboto inendet.

(What then shall we say to this?  If God is for us, who is against us?  He who did not spare his own son but gave him up for us all, will he not also give us all things with him?)

My faith has called me and inspired me to help the poor at Tenwek Hospital in Kenya.

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