Anthony "Tony" Scharrer, RN
Tony was in the healthcare industry for almost 5 years working as an Emergency Room RN at Florida Hospital Tampa ER. He was looking for a volunteer opportunity abroad when he came across MMK and applied. He flew solo from Florida since most of the other groups were coming from LA, Denver and Canada. When he arrived in Nairobi, Tony had “arrived home”. He immediately took to his surroundings and adapted to the culture, trying new flavors of foods and learning about the local traditions.
During the outreach, his ER screenings skills came handy when one of our patients had a syncope episode right in the middle of an exam. As a pro that he is, Tony immediately checked his glucose levels and other vitals, as doctors tried to figure out what was going on, while maintaining a calmness that only comes from years of experience working in acute situations. Turned out the old man just needed a bag of IV fluids. Well, in the field, that was some rehydration salt mixed in a liter of water and all was fine with the world again.
Tony was also super prepared for the trip. I mean, who brings a gallon of laundry detergent on an African trip? We teased him mercilessly, but we all knew if we were to get stuck in the middle of the desert, Tony had the resources and supplies to last us for a week. He had a machete for God's sake. Not sure how TSA allowed him to fly with a machete all the way to Kenya. Tony embraced the Maasai culture whole heartedly, dressing up like a Moran with the weaponry complete with the shuka wraps. I will never ever forget the time we stopped for an ATM because he wanted some more cash to buy more Maasai weaponry. When he stepped out of the van dressed up in his Maasai Moran clothes, there was immediate silence as everyone in the street turned to look at him. At first you can see the shock. You don't see a Mzungu moran wannabe everyday; and then the shock turns into amusement. But they smiled and waved at him. If Tony was born in Kenya, I have no doubt he would have been a Moran with the highest hierarchy. The locals loved him, who wouldn’t? He dressed like them, danced like them and ate with them. For the two weeks he was in Kenya with us, he became a Kenyan, and loved every minute of it. And the Kenyans loved him more……