***Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic trip details are subject to change***
***$300 non-refundable deposit is due before any team member is added to a team roster.***
Please note that passports must be valid up to 6 months from your trip return date.
Team Leaders: Kirby Phillips and Dr. Damian Gunaratne
This will be the third VIMM trip to Sri Lanka, a small tropical island of 22 million inhabitants off the southern coast of India. Sri Lanka is suffering through an unprecedented economic crisis fueled by the negative impact of the Covid pandemic upon the tourist industry which is the major source of income in Sri Lanka. Inflation of 54% over the past year has led to many changes in the daily lives of Sri Lankans as they struggle with daily power cuts, shortages of fuel and some essential items. There has also been a shortage of some medicines and quality of medical care has been affected. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa recently resigned due to public outcry and was replaced by Prime Minister Wickramisinghe who is now President. Sri Lankans have suffered much, going through a 26-year civil war from 1983-2009 and suffering 46,000 deaths from a catastrophic tsunami Dec. 26, 2004. Many rural areas are poverty stricken and many people lack proper medical care. Buddhism is the major religion followed in Sri Lanka, with 70.2% of the population identifying as Buddhist. Of the remaining Sri Lankan population, 12.6% identify as Hindu, 9.7% identify as Muslim and 6.1% identify as Christian.
The team will be led by Kirby Phillips and medical director, Dr. Damian Gunaratne. This will be Kirby’s 21st VIMM trip. He has led teams to Haiti, Sri Lanka, the Dominican Republic, Panama, and Cameroon. This is Dr. Gunaratne’s fifth VIMM trip and he is excited to lead a team to the country of his parents. Dr. Gunaratne helped lead the 2 previous VIMM teams to Sri Lanka in 2017 and 2019. He is fluent in the Sinhalese language. He is a family physician/ emergency room physician in Ontario, Canada.
The team will fly out of Atlanta on February 2, 2023, and land in the capital city of Colombo. We will spend some time getting acclimatized and packaging medications in preparation for our clinic days. We will be hosted by Bethel Christian Centre in Piliyindala, Sri Lanka. Accommodations will be in a rented house and food will be prepared by members of the host church. Sri Lanka is known for its delicious cuisine! We will travel to rural areas, urban areas, and to an orphanage to do clinics. In the clinics, doctors and other medical professionals will see patients, nurses will assist with triage and work in the pharmacy, and non-medical members will offer reading glasses (a huge need in Sri Lanka), assist with the pharmacy, and do other work as needed. Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, and non-medical helpers are needed. We will spend the last day of the trip in a coastal town where there will be some time for sightseeing and shopping for souvenirs. The team will fly back to the United States on February 12, 2023.
This will be a challenging, but extremely rewarding trip with the opportunity to show the love of Christ in tangible ways to many people who haven’t yet experienced Christ’s love. Please prayerfully consider joining us in helping those in need in Sri Lanka