"When I got there, that's when I realized that in over 40 years, nothing has really changed," he said.
During a visit to the one-room schoolhouse where he had attended elementary school, Kusimo said he noticed the students were sitting in the same desks and chairs that he and his classmates had used almost a half-century ago.
Kusimo said Nigeria, while blessed with natural recourses like oil, is plagued with fraud, poverty and violence. He said the government is intended to be a democracy modeled after the U.S. Constitution, but the reality is vastly different.
"Technically speaking, Nigeria is a very rich country," he said. "But because of corruption, nepotism and tribalism, the resources are very few. The money doesn't get to where it needs to be."
After returning to the United States, Kusimo gave a report to members of his congregation outlining what he had observed back home. The report inspired members of the church and residents of the surrounding area to join the cause.
Edward George, a local lawyer and former emergency medical technician, has attended both trips, doing preliminary triage and intake evaluations of patients before the team's doctors or nurse practitioners see them.
"It's fairly organized. Sometimes these things occur at schools, in a church setting, sometimes literally out in the jungle," George said.
While working in Ilaro, the mission team stays on Kusimo's property with members of his extended family. Even though they are afforded the luxury of this familial setting, George said often there is little time for sleeping or eating.
"The mission work that we do starts very early in the morning, and we don't get back until 6, 7, 8 o'clock at night," he said. "It's a full 12 hours minimum. You don't even really think about food."
George said for this year's trip the group has established a website to receive donations.
"I think this will really leap us forward a lot," he said. "People really want to give, and it's so much easier this way."
Andrea Zekan, one of the team's nurse practitioners, agreed, saying the website should encourage more donors to give because it allows them to see where their money is going and what it will be used for.
"The great thing about this medical mission is its simplicity," she said. "Their money, dollar for dollar, is going to the Nigerian person."
Kusimo said the church will be continuing its planning and fundraising efforts over the next year and is always looking for more participants. He said he looks forward to seeing both membership and support increase because it will allow the mission to have more of an impact.
"We live in a world that is looking for hope. By you showing up, you're giving hope to somebody," he said. "There is no one who has gone with me that regretted ever going."
To learn more about Christ Life Fellowship's mission work or donate funds, visit www.clfrabboni.org or call the church at 304-766-2422.
Contact writer Charles Young at charles.yo...@dailymail.com or 304-348-1796.