Why Gilchrist is a Great Place to Work – Compassion for Families Locally and in Tanzania

Robin Stocksdale, Gilchrist clinical social worker and coordinator of Gilchrist’s partnership in Tanzania, pictured with a young child on one of her visits to Tanzania.

In April, Gilchrist was certified as a ‘Great Place to Work,’ and I agree.

I’ve worked for Gilchrist for 19 years, and one of the many reasons I am proud to work here is that we care about those in need of hospice not only in this country, but also half a world away in Africa.

I have the privilege of coordinating Gilchrist’s partnership in Tanzania – Nkoaranga Lutheran Hospital’s Hospice and Palliative Care Program. We’ve partnered with Nkoaranga for nine years now, and have improved the lives of thousands of patients in the villages over that time.

One child we helped was a 12-year-old boy named Goodluck, who touched my heart.

We first learned of Goodluck when the Nkoaranga hospice team asked us for advice on how to care for his wounds. Goodluck had fallen out of a tree, leaving him paraplegic. His mother, who practiced witchcraft, believed that she must sacrifice her firstborn child. But instead of her firstborn—a daughter, she decided to sacrifice Goodluck instead.

For weeks and months, she left him on the floor without medical care. When a hospice volunteer discovered him and brought him to the hospital, his bedsores were so severe he no longer had any buttocks, and his wounds were down to the bone on his hips and the inside of his knees.

We had the chance to meet Goodluck when we traveled to Tanzania a few weeks later and visited him in the hospital. He was a sweet boy who suffered without complaining.

Goodluck at the hospital in Tanzania.

Goodluck stayed at the hospital free of charge for many months, receiving extensive wound care using supplies the Gilchrist team had brought from home, and loving support from the hospital staff.

Sadly, a few weeks after we returned home, we learned Goodluck had died from sepsis as a result of his wounds becoming infected.

The hospital team wrote us, “He was comfortable and loved. And he was grateful that people he didn’t even know, from halfway around the world in the United States, would care for him and love him.”

Stories like Goodluck’s are why we provide care in Africa—and why I am proud to work for Gilchrist.

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