She may be tiny, but Kay Braby puts enormous effort into supporting those in need.
In 2009, the 83-year-old dynamo spent a year in northeastern Ghana helping out in a clinic pharmacy and in an orphanage where she fed and bathed babies, made beds and taught the little children to play games.
Accompanied by Lorraine Ellens, Braby returned to Ghana in November 2011.
“We saw firsthand the school the (First United) church had helped to build and we saw the poverty over there,” she says, noting the women were with Ghanian nurse Vida Yakong, who was trained in Kelowna and has started a clinic there. “We were with her when she took over a small amount of limited bits and pieces of medical supplies and they were so excited with what they got.”
Braby said she looked into how to get more medical supplies to the region. Retired doctor Brian Ayotte put her in touch with The Gleaners in Vernon.
“It’s not just fruits and vegetable although they dry them and package them in one-kilogram bags for orphanages in Third World countries,” Braby says, pointing out the volunteer organization also gathers medical supplies and equipment such as blankets and wheelchairs.
“Not only that, because they have sent so many boxes around the world, they’ll pack it for us,” says Braby of the large box Big Steel Box owner Barry Siebenga provided at a reduced price. “We just need to tell them what we need, what will be useful over there and they’ll pack it up.”
The boxes themselves are also welcome in Ghana, where they are used as libraries, offices, homes, etc.
Braby was also in Ghana to see the excited welcome baby receiving blankets were given by women who often had nothing to wrap their newborn in but an old piece of cloth.
With flannelette made available at less than half price by Fabricland owner Denise Green, more than 200 blankets were sewn and will be included in the shipment.
“We’ll still have a little space so we will take some simple bikes,” says Braby, who is hoping to acquire some treadle sewing machines, because electricity is intermittent. “Treadle sewing machines would be invaluable because teaching seamstresses over there is very important.”
Braby is hoping the box will be shipped on May 30 and invites anyone who could donate a treadle machine to call her at 250-832-9114 or Lorraine Ellens at 250-833-4642.