GeeGees Image

Suitcase packed for Africa

Monday July 6, 2009

uOttawa athletic trainer prepares for eye-opener

uOttawa athletic trainer Crissy McPhee will spend two eye-opening weeks starting today in Kakamega, Kenya on a working trip with orphaned and vulnerable children in Africa.

“Basically just staying with the kids, especially the toddlers, “ said McPhee, a Beaconsfield, Que. native and Concordia University graduate in her second season overseeing all therapy requirements for the 11 Gee-Gees varsity teams.

 “They don’t get taken out of their cribs at all because they are all orphans and don’t have parents. So many of the kids just sit in cement cribs.”

Suitcases for Africa (, a program which began in 2005, supports orphans and vulnerable children through education, nutrition and health care.

Kakamega, situated 30 kilometres north of the Equator with a population of 74,000, is the headquarters of Kenya’s Western Province and close to the popular Kakamega Forest National Reserve.

“It will be tough work. I am not expecting a glorified vacation,” said McPhee, who will celebrate her 30th birthday July 15, mid-way through the 6-22 trip.  “That’s what I like in my travelling – being right in the midst of it.”

A former youth councillor on cruise ships, McPhee graduated from Concordia’s Athletic Therapy program in 2002.

 “This will be a big eye opener,” McPhee said. ““It will also be a culture shock I am sure - but I am looking forward to it.”