Nia ready for a day of patients, training and cross-cultural exchange.

Meet Nia Mensah, the founder of Kusudi International, who participated for the first time in an Ohana One mission trip to Mozambique. Her experience is a compelling testament to the power of compassion, collaboration, and collective effort. Notably, her work adhered to the highest ethical standards in global health partnerships.

Kusudi International is dedicated to providing medical and rehabilitative assistance to those in need locally and globally. The organization’s mission extends beyond immediate relief, offering hope and creating a sustainable impact.

Mission trip volunteers outside Maputo Hospital.

Ohana One, the mission trip organizer, specializes in delivering essential surgical care and training to healthcare providers in underserved communities. The mission to Mozambique focused on enhancing local efforts in Maputo and Matola by bringing in necessary supplies and medical practitioners to support the incredible teams at two local hospitals.

With her background in healthcare consulting, Nia brought a unique set of skills to the mission. Her role was diverse, encompassing patient care, physical therapy, and educational training for local healthcare providers. Importantly, her efforts were conducted in a way that respected the autonomy and dignity of the local community, aligning with best practices in global health partnerships.

While in Mozambique, Nia discovered that the local rehab department was staffed with dedicated and caring professionals who were constrained by limited resources. She learned that they had the capability to fabricate Aquaplast splints, which are more durable than traditional plaster splints when the materials were available. To aid in this, she facilitated the donation of a water heating pan to Ms. Tiego, the head of the rehab department.

Nia had high praise for her fellow volunteers, Nurse Katie and Nurse Sandra, describing them as “the real deal.” She lauded their quick wit, intelligence, and advocacy spirit. Together, they cleaned wounds, provided physical therapy, and even brought smiles to their patients’ faces.

From left to right: Teresa Tiego, Director of the Maputo Therapy Department and Nia; Volunteer Nurses Katie and Sandra with Nia; A physical therapy session with a young patient.

The mission was a resounding success, treating numerous patients and offering valuable training to local healthcare providers. For Nia, however, the impact was deeply personal. “The smiles on the faces of the people we helped were priceless,” she shared. “Knowing we made a tangible difference filled me with an indescribable sense of fulfillment.”

This collaboration reminded Nia of her first mission trip 18 years ago when she said, “It’s one thing to discuss healthcare disparities in a classroom, but it’s another thing to witness them firsthand.” The mission reinforced her commitment to healthcare equity and highlighted the incredible impact that can be achieved when partnerships are built on a foundation of mutual respect and ethical integrity.

Nia and patients at Maputo Hospital. Bubbles were used as a part of physical therapy. (Left photo credit: Kelly Fogel)

Nia’s journey with Ohana One is a shining example of how cross-organizational collaboration can amplify impact. Her experience was not merely a mission trip; it was a transformative journey that left a lasting impression on her and the community she served.

As we continue to strive for a more equitable world, stories like Nia’s remind us of the power of compassion and the importance of adhering to ethical principles in global health initiatives. Here’s to many more impactful missions and the inspiring individuals who make them possible.

Dr. Michelle Dee, Ohana One Co-Founder, and her daughter Ally with Nia. They were roommates on the trip.