Willamette Medical Teams (Willamette International)
Willamette Medical Teams (WMT) began in 2003, having acquired the assets and procedures of another short term medical group headquartered in Yakima, Washington. WMT is registered with the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(C) 3 not-for-profit corporation.
WMT has consistently operated two or three volunteer primary care medical clinics in Sierra Leone West Africa and Peru or Chile, South America since 2003. These short term medical teams have spawned much of the humanitarian effort that has been initiated since that time.
Sierra Leone is a country that experienced a debilitating civil war from 1989 to 2001. WMT representatives conducted our first site visit to Sierra Leone in 2003, visiting refugee camps still in operation by the UN. In 2004, WMT conducted a primary care clinic at a refugee camp called Waterloo. Many of the people seen in the clinic had serious conditions related to drinking contaminated water. Clinic leaders visited a water reservoir a mile away from the clinic that had been built by the British Army during the Second World War. The facility, called Newton Dam had a steady stream of clean water pouring from an aquifer into a damaged concrete tank. Local residents were using the water for bathing and laundry.
In the spring of 2005, WMT selected a country director to represent interests of WMT in Sierra Leone. The process was begun to establish Non Government Organization (NGO) status with the government of Sierra Leone. This enabled WMT to conduct business, import goods and employ people to advance WMT interests in developmental causes. We continued to conduct primary medical clinics in Sierra Leone, typically at former refugee camps. During this time we forged relationships with other organizations building schools in the country.
In February 2009, Rotarians affiliated with WMT secured a Matching Grant with Rotary International (63446) to capture the water at the Newton Dam and secure it for distribution to the Waterloo community. Subsequent improvements, including a solar pumping mechanism are distributing water to 5 different taps along the former British Airstrip which has become home to displaced Saloneans, Ghanaians and Liberians. These taps were funded by Rotary clubs in Oregon and Arizona. We presently have a district simplified grant application to add an inline solar powered ultraviolet purifying system to obviate the need for chemical treatment of the water.
In 2010, under the direction of Country Director Chad Courtney, WMT secured a 25 year lease for the Newton Dam property. This location has become headquarters for WMT operations in Sierra Leone. Chad and his wife Robin and their three children were joined in 2010 by John and Kaysie Campbell. John is a mechanical engineer with a special interest in water and solar projects. John has partnered with Oklahoma State University and an organization called Water 4 to develop a manual well drilling business in Sierra Leone. Because of it manual operation, WMT leadership can drill a well at a steeply discounted rate, employing local materials and labor, including solar power for pumping as required.
John’s simplified pumping procedure, employing water pressure in the place of foot valves, has significantly reduced wear and tear that poses maintenance problems in traditional water pumping systems. WMT presently has two pumping crews operating at full time basis, strictly on word of mouth promotion. There is a significant demand for this service that we are unable to supply because of insufficient equipment.
In 2008, WMT imported a compact tractor, (John Deere 5303) with plowing equipment to begin farming operations. We have partnered with various groups where we have conducted primary clinics, to open ground that has been fallow since before the beginning of the war. Our most recent partner was a group called Salonean War Widows. Opportunities exist here to expand operations with improved farming techniques and enhanced equipment for specific farming applications.
In 2012, Emily McIntosh, Nurse practitioner joined the WMT team to establish a permanent medical presence in Sierra Leone. She is working with a mission hospital in the Kamakwie village to enhance her skills in tropical medicine. It is anticipated that she will venture into solo practice as suitable opportunities present themselves.
Thus far, we have a crew of 30 members in our Sierra Leone team. These include 9 US citizens and one family from Chile. Our collective vision is to employ business practices in farming, water development and medicine to cultivate a new generation of leaders. These leaders will have the skills necessary to lead the nation into the next level of development. We have one family currently under recruitment from Chile and one from the US to expand water drilling businesses. We are also employing local talent with demonstrated capability.
Project Opportunities include:
- Grace Bible Institute
- Grace Village Orphanage
- Newton dam site development (priority)
- Equipment for 2 more drilling crews.
- Clinic construction
- Agriculture expansion
- Automotive repair business
- Textile business
- Solar power components import, manufacture and sales.