Eye-Opening Visit

Since joining the NBA in 2008, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has used his platform to give back to his native Cameroon and surrounding countries in Africa.

Luc visited refugee camps in Kenya last month with a UNICEF outreach team.

Luc has made several trips over to Africa with outreach programs, many of which involved basketball. But nothing he did prior could prepare Luc for what he saw last week when he participated in a UNICEF outreach mission trip to Kenya.

Along with OKC Thunder forward Nick Collison and NBA legend Dikembe Mutombo, Luc visited a refugee camp in Kakuma where more than 100,000 refugees are living. He told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel that the trip gave him a different perspective on the state of things in different parts of the continent.

« Being African, you think you’ve seen it all. The refugee camp was something I’ve never seen before, » he said. « We vaccinated kids for polio and went to the schools. »

Luc administers a Polio vaccine in Turkana with UNICEF.

According to UNICEF, the camp was established back in 1992. At that point it housed 7,000 refugees and has added nearly 100,000 in the last 20 years. Kakuma occupies 12 square kilometres and is above its capacity. It houses refugees from Somalia, South Sudan, Burundi and Ethiopia. Of the 100,000, more than 50 percent are children and one of the main goals of the programs through UNICEF is to provide more places where those children can go and get a proper education.

In addition to learning about the camp and touring the grounds, Luc, Collison and Mutumbo led a basketball camp at Kakuma. They then travelled to Lodwar, where they met rescued girls at St. Monica’s Girls’ School and the Nardikonyen Children Rescue Centre. The group also visited Turkana, where they vaccinated kids for polio.

« It was an amazing experience to go over there and see my brothers, » Luc said. « It was very powerful for me. »

View more pictures of Luc’s journey below, courtesy of UNICEF:

Luc and Dikembe get ready to head to Kenya.

The crew is on its way.

Arrival at the UNICEF Turkana office in Lodwar.

Meeting with the district commissioner in Lodwar before touring the area.

Ready to begin our mission.

Visiting a classroom in Lokitaung Primary School, where the average classroom has to hold 114 students.

The group speaks with rescued girls at St. Monica’s Girls’ school in Lodwar.

Sleeping arrangements at St. Monica’s, where, due to space constraints, girls sleep two to a bed.

The borehole where girls at St. Monica’s fetch water.

The group goes through security check, departing the camp after a life-changing experience.