Sir Greg Erikson, Canada
MMK is excited to recognize one of MMK’s strongest supporter and volunteer, Mr Greg Erikson. Greg and his wife Dr. Martha Ingles, have volunteered with MMK twice and gone to both North and Southern remote villages of Kenya.
Greg Erikson was born and raised in the Greater Vancouver area of British Columbia, Canada. Greg had a tough time growing up. During his teen years he struggled with addictions and depression to a point where he attempted suicide. As fate could have it, it is through these difficult times that Greg found his calling. As a result of overcoming his own struggles he wanted to start helping others. Since 1991 Greg has committed to giving back to the community. He has volunteered his time and effort in various social endeavors including being a human rights activist, drug and alcohol treatment center worker, and child and youth protection worker. In 2008 while living in Northern BC, he met the love of his life online and has been happily married since 2010 to his beautiful, Martha Ingles. During their wedding, Greg and Martha requested their friends and families to donate money to build a well (bore-hole), in Central Kenya in lieu of wedding gifts. Named after the Eriksons’, the well was indeed a gift that keeps on giving. They say “water is life” and that is evident through the communities that have flourished due to the Eriksons’well. Today, hundreds of communities totally depend on that well for their needs and the needs of their animals.
The summer of 2013 found the Eriksons’ planning a dream vacation; a safari to East Africa. Selflessly, they were planning a trip where they could combineion with volunteer work. It was while doing their research for this vacation that they found Medical Missions Kenya. By signing with MMK, they were able to combine the volunteer work with their safari vacation to Kenya in 2013. MMK was honored to have them volunteer again for the 2014 medical mission trip alongside their 18 year old niece Shakti Baker as well.
When I first met Greg, it didn’t take me long to see his BIG heart. Greg will spend his last dime on anyone in need. He shared freely and gave huge tips everywhere we went to the point where I started worrying about him. I was concerned that some locals might take advantage of his generosity or he might get robbed. Standing tall at 6’1, one is immediately taken aback by his sensitivity. While Martha is calm and collected no matter the situation, Greg tears up and gets visibly upset and sometimes angry at injustice situations. I remember when we encountered the battered pregnant mother of three kids who was beaten up and lost her unborn baby. Greg was upset and frustrated about the domestic violence and wanted to fly the mother and her kids to his home in Canada. There was another incident where Greg lost it when he noticed a school teacher raising a cane on a small child as a form of punishment (not uncommon in the village). He spent hours coaching the school teacher regarding better and proven methods of discipline that are not physical. Yeah, that is so Greg.
During MMK trips, Greg takes many roles. He is usually the administrator and uploads our field data on the laptop. He also organizes and distributes our supplies including the glucometers, the assessment forms, and keeps the lines moving by delegating the nurses to station where they were most needed. He also deworms the kids and replenish medical supplies to the stations as needed. On a lighter note, we were always astonished by Greg’s ability to fall asleep in the van during our long and often bumpy trips. The trips were pretty uncomfortable and you would be speaking to Greg and the next moment there would be silence. Surprisingly Greg would have drifted off to sleep in the middle of a conversation. Greg’s memorable moments in Kenya includes watching his then 18 year old niece Shakti serve the Kenyan people during the trip. “Seeing the next generation help others is always a great privilege especially when it’s your family”. He also enjoyed seeing all the wild life during the safaris in Samburu and Maasai Mara. Greg currently enjoys genealogy, helping people research their family history. He and Martha hopes to go back with MMK to Kenya again in the future.