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Posted 03 Jun 2001   For week ended June 01, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 01Jun01

By Kent Larsen

Listen to What They Say You Can Do to Help

PROVO, UTAH -- A prominent WHO doctor from Gambia told LDS missionaries at the MTC Wednesday that listening is the best way to find out how to help. Dr. Ebrahim Samba was in Salt Lake City and Provo to meet with leaders of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and strengthen ties with Deseret International, a nonprofit agency originally funded and run by LDS Church members.

Dr. Samba met with a group of missionaries at the MTC who were headed to Africa, who told him they were going to preach the gospel and serve the people. When Samba asked how they were to serve, one of the missionaries told him that they didn't yet know exactly. Dr. Samba replied, "That is best. You go and listen to what they say you can do to help, instead of trying to tell them what they need."

Dr. Samba, who has spent his career forming health-care alliances with international agencies and won the Africa Prize in 1992 for his effort to eradicate river blindness, met with the LDS Church's Presiding Bishopric, BYU President Merrill Bateman and attended a dinner hosted by Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve. He also toured the LDS Church's Welfare Square and Humanitarian Center, learning what the Church can provide in short-term aid.

But Dr. Samba also looked for solutions to Africa's long-term problems, such as disease and a lack of self-sufficiency. "Charity, however generous, can't be sustainable. It's dehumanizing. We want to help them learn to feed themselves and their families." He said education is the key to this self-sufficiency, "The only reason I am able to help others is I've been to school and to the university."

His trip to Salt Lake City came at his own expense, prompted by the work of Deseret International and the efforts of Church member Steve Mann, who created Deseret International's "Education for Life" program along with a group of Catholic nuns. The program has made great strides in educating Africans about how to avoid AIDS, reaching 20,000 people so far.


Listen to Africans, missionaries urged
Deseret News 31May01 N1
By Carrie A. Moore: Deseret News religion editor
WHO director visits MTC, talks with LDS leaders


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