February 24, 2010 Edition

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Tasia Charles attends
medical mission trip

Tasia Charles holds a little girl, suffering from high fever and dehydration, while waiting to see a doctor.
Shantelle Prater
Staff Writer

Tasia Lee Charles of Walnut Ridge recently traveled to Ivory Coast, Africa, on a medial mission trip with Central Baptist Church in Jonesboro.

An eight-member team, including two nurse practitioners, a family doctor, an RN, an LPN, a pharmacist, a financial person and Charles, participated in the 10-day mission trip to provide medical assistance to those in need.

"We went as medical missionaries because they don't have any doctors or medicine such as pain relievers or fever reducers," said Charles about the Ivory Coast residents whose life expectancy is 49 years.

During the trip, Charles's team set up four medical clinics in four villages, all located within the Ivory Coast territory.

"Everyone was really helpful and they seemed to admire Americans and want to be like us," Charles said.

"They also would do anything they could to help us, whether it be carrying a bottle of water to helping us set up a basketball court."

Missionaries also helped to spread the word of Jesus in the Muslim-dominated country.

"I think the trip was a very emotional trip for everybody," said Charles. "It made me want to go back to venture into the medical field."

Since the trip, Charles has learned not to take things for granted. "I value simple things such as running water and clean water," she said.

Charles, who is the daughter of Jim and Darlene Barker of Ash Flat, received her paramedic one-year certificate from the paramedic program at Black River Technical College's Fire Training Center in Walnut Ridge in December of 2009. She plans to complete her two-year associates in paramedic and become a flight nurse. She is employed as an EMT at Arkansas Excellent Transport in Walnut Ridge.

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