Nursing Alumna to Help Build Orphanage in the Philippines

MARCH 5, 2014 - Nursing alumna Mellissa L.K. Coly (NHS’09), RN, recently completed a seven-day mission trip to Tacloban City in the Philippines.

The area was hard hit in November during Typhoon Yolanda/Haiyan, which is responsible for more than six thousand deaths, the destruction of about one million homes, and the displacement of over four million people, according to the U.S. Agency for International Development.

“This trip was purely God,” she says.  “I can’t put it any other way.  We ran out of medicine the first day, and we were able to sustain the mission for the next five days.”

Health Care Services

Coly, who had completed previous mission trips in Jamaica, Nicaragua, and West Africa, traveled with eight others this winter through the organization Forward Edge.

“We did basic, basic grassroots health care,” she says.  “The people flocked to us.  We did blood pressure checks.  We had some people who were in hypertensive crisis.  We had to take some people to the hospital.”

When the medication ran out, Coly says more supplies came from the United Nations, the Red Cross, and other local missions.

‘Calling Me Back’

This spring, Coly will leave her current nursing position to return to the Philippines to help serve the children who were orphaned by the typhoon.

“I knew that God was calling me back to the Philippines,” she says.  “I just wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do.  One of the pastors there asked me to come back and help to build the orphanage.”

Coly has formed a company and recruited eight others to help with this effort.

“My team is from Nigeria, Kenya, and all over the United States,” she says.  “Between all nine of us, we’ve covered 60 countries of the world doing mission work.  And we’re all younger than 35.”

A Nursing Career

Since graduating from Georgetown, Coly has practiced nursing in California, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, and Texas.

“I’ve literally driven a full circle around the country,” she notes with a laugh.  “When I got back to DC, I realized I had done that.”

She says Georgetown really prepared her well for the profession.

“I love nursing,” she says.  “I felt like Georgetown really overly prepared me for the working world.  It’s one of those things that you see when you are in the hospital and see the fruits of your labor.  You can compare your skill set with others.  It’s really priceless.”

Following a Passion

As she prepares for her next adventure, Coly says she is feeling overwhelmed and humbled.

“I’ve always known that my passion has been to serve underserved communities,” she says.  “I’d really rather be in the Philippines sleeping on the floor, showering out of a bucket, and washing clothes in a little pail.  It’s purely depending on God for what you need.”

By Bill Cessato