Bringing Hope to Communities in Need

by Scott Hutchinson
July 27, 2018

Nathan Worth on his recent mission trip to Tanzania.

Part 1

The September 2017 issue of NOVO Live shared a story about Advanced Physical Therapy’s Rob Worth, his involvement with the volunteer group Hope Without Borders (HWB), and their efforts to transform vulnerable and needy communities around the globe by providing education, medical care, and clean water.

Part 2

In May of 2018, Worth, his son, and a group of nearly 20 (most nurse practitioners and nurse practitioner students) traveled to Tanzania to continue their work with HWB in communities in dire need of basic necessities.  

Hope Without Borders emphasizes community development, partnering with individuals and communities in need and working together on life-changing sustainable development initiatives. HWB requires the active participation of the communities in all project phases – planning, decision-making, funding, implementation, and monitoring – to take ownership and ensure program continuation and success.

“Effective partnering requires developing communities to be actively involved,” said Julie Parve, co-founder of HWB. “We believe working and serving together is the best way to empower people.”

One of the primary initiatives continues to be access to clean water. 

“In many of the areas we visit, drinking dirty, disease-ridden water is sometimes the only option,” said Worth, whose group returned to Tanzania, one of the poorest countries in Africa. The team returned to villages to check on clean water wells that were set up last year and visited other communities to implement new filtration systems. 

“Many of the things we treat people for medically are coming from drinking unclean water,” said Worth. “A priority is to help establish clean water systems in these areas and teach people how to operate and maintain them.”

One of the group’s visits took them to a mission hospital run by nuns, where the sisters now produce and sell their clean water, called Hope Water, to help sustain the mission and fund the hospital services it offers to those in the region. During the visit the team also provided physical therapy treatments to the nuns before moving on to a medical camp in neighboring Kenya.

In addition to clean water access, HWB develops local partnerships to provide safe sanitation, nutritious food, health and dental care, adequate shelter and education, basic needs many take for granted. 

For more information or to lend a hand, visit

"Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war."

~World Health Organization

Part 3

Travel blog from Hope Without Borders

Physical therapists Steve Johnson and Rob Worth in Tanzania.

Steve & Julia Johnson traveled from their home in LaCrosse to Tanzania to be part of HWB’s Africa mission in 2018. Steve is a physical therapist; Julie is a speech pathologist. This is one of their reports on the group’s efforts to empower people and transform communities.

We arrived at the hospital and, as usual, were warmly welcomed by a team of Medical Officers and Physicians from whom we learned of our missions for the day. We were separated into groups and away we went!

The nursing teams were placed into a variety of areas that included triage, where they took blood pressures, temperatures and assisted with determining who was more urgent to see and who would need to wait. Other nurses had the chance to meet with Clinical Officers, who saw HIV clients. HIV is very prevalent in Africa and maintenance of the condition is important, as is education on how to limit its continued spread. Others were involved in care of pediatrics where they saw a two-week old baby with pneumonia. This infant was not doing well and our team was able to help the mother better understand ways to help with breathing. In addition, others were able to be firsthand observers in the Major Surgical Theater, where a hysterectomy was being performed. 

The therapists in the group were taken over to the onsite nursing home, where they had the opportunity to help elderly nuns get on their feet! The nuns seen were over 85, with the eldest being 91. These women, though afraid and uncertain initially, were able to get up with the assistance of our PTs and walk with walkers down the hall. As they realized what they could still do, their faces brightened with excitement!  

Part 4

As he has made multiple trips with HWB to different locations around the globe, Worth made a promise to himself last year that if he returned to the same area in 2018 that he would take the opportunity to climb Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, which is located in Tanzania along its northern border with Kenya. 

Joining him on his trek to the top of the 19,000-foot peak would be his 17-year old son, Nathan.

With required guide and creative layering (temperatures from the bottom to the top of the mountain drop 80º), the Worths chose the steep and scenic Machame route for their ascent, which was later reached after a final push that began at midnight so they could enjoy the sunrise at the summit.

“There was a freak storm earlier in the week that put down a sheet of snow and ice, so we had to hustle to get there by 6:00 A.M.,” said Worth. “We made it at 6:05.”

At that moment, Worth took this picture of his son at the highest point in Africa.

“My dad and I were both a little worried that I would not make it to the top with only one month of training beforehand, though fortunately I did,” said Nathan. “I realize how lucky I am to have this amazing experience of a mission trip to Africa and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro before I have even turned 18.”