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    Posted March 10, 2014 by
    Edmond, Oklahoma

    Making a Difference: From Graduation to Africa

    Oklahoma Christian University’s Emily Kurt headed straight from being handed her diploma to holding baby orphans in Zambia, Africa.

    Oklahoma Christian alumna Meagan Holley was the first eagle to fly to Zambia and become a part of the Namwianga Mission. The Namwianga mission is a large base with multiple nonprofit foundations including one known as The Haven. The Haven is a safe place for orphaned babies. There are three houses: Eleanor’s House (entry level), Kelly’s House (toddlers), and Marjorie’s House (children with special needs).

    Kurt who is Holley’s cousin, was inspired by Holley to visit in 2009. After her three experiences, the latest being last summer, she decided it was a place she wanted to stay more permanently.
    Kurt finished her final semester at OC and graduated in December.

    After graduation, she knew she wanted to go back to Zambia and help in any way she could with the precious babies. On Jan. 6, Emily flew to Africa to begin her three-month stay at the orphanage.

    “My sole purpose on this current trip is to help my cousin in any way possible,” said Kurt. “That has included holding a lot of babies, but has also included a lot of just being there for my cousin as she's transitioning back into this hard world.”

    A typical day for Kurt includes holding babies and taking babies to the clinic or the hospital. She has also been helping Holley set up, paint and organize a new room at The Haven that will be used for physical therapy for the orphans with special needs. Her days are extremely diverse compared to typical days of other recent graduates.

    The cultural differences Kurt experiences are vast.

    “The biggest cultural difference that I have noticed is the fact that no one really thinks about time much. They typically show up late for anything, but it's not a big deal to them,” said Kurt.

    Kurt’s selflessness has not only impacted the orphans in Africa, but has also affected her outlook on the world.

    “The biggest lesson I have learned along the way is that I am just a minuscule part of this world in Africa,” said Kurt.

    Across campus there are others who have experienced The Haven mission and are supportive of Kurt’s decision.

    Jana Miller works in the marketing department at OC and has been to Zambia three times. She lived at The Haven from 2009 until 2010. She holds a special place in her heart for the babies at the orphanage who have come from families who cannot take proper care of them.

    “Most of the babies that come to The Haven are brought by family members who are unable to care for the child. A common situation is a family coming because the child's mother has passed away, often times from complications from HIV/AIDS,” said Miller.

    The Haven takes care of the babies until they are toddlers. If the families are stable enough to take their baby back, the orphanage allows them to do so while continuing to support the babies needs.

    Rachel Kurt, a junior at Oklahoma Christian University, also supports her sister Emily’s decision.
    She has also been to Zambia and holds special memories close to her heart from her experience.

    “On my first trip to Zambia, a baby named Seth almost died of dehydration,” Rachel said. We rushed him to the hospital, he had to get an IV, and it was so scary. Two years later when we returned, he was just huge, smiling and precious. When Emily went back this time, she told me that Seth called her Rachel when she first got there. I was so excited to hear that he remembered me, and was so happy to know that he is doing so well.”

    With all of the support provided by OC, faculty, other students and her family, Kurt has had an incredible experience working with the baby orphans.

    “They have taught me so much about having nothing, but still having so much joy, and doing a better job at loving and living life like Jesus does, so much more than I do,” said Kurt.
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