DINK #244 Some People Are Doing Amazing Things Out There

Posted on : 22-11-2010 | By : Lynn | In : Uncategorized

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There are some people out there who are doing amazing things out there; wherever “there” is, right?  A graduate student, in Social Work came to visit our class today and shared with us his experience of volunteering for the Peace Corps for two years in Mozambique, Africa.  Wow!  I remember hearing about Peace Corps volunteering my first go around in college many years ago and it is still just as amazing and invigorating for me to listen to stories from someone who is willing to go live in a foreign country with people they do not know and make such a difference for so many lives (least of which is their own!).

When our graduate student friend went to Mozambique, he did not speak Portuguese. He was matched with a family that spoke only Portuguese so that after about 6 months he could communicate the basics and definitely after a few cases of health care forms, he learned some of the basic vocabulary words necessary to get around. None of the PC workers had places to stay with running water etc. so our friend had to learn how to bathe using water out of a large pot.  He eventually figured out how to create a spout by having a welder, weld together a basic garden spout to a pipe so that he could have a nice warm (5 minute) outdoor shower.

He said the people in the village where he lived ate very healthily with fresh vegetables and that he learned to cook some really tasty food.  He shared stories of learning how to negotiate around the politics of how the village ran through the friends he made there and in turn he taught them how to respond to grants, etc.  He contracted malaria twice and said that if you ever hear that “malaria is just like getting a really bad case of the flu”…it’s not true…it’s much worse!  He was able to get to a medical center and get the pills for Malaria (for free).  It was interesting and heartbreaking to listen to the HIV/AIDS statistics. They’re very high as you can imagine and there is medicine available but there are two big problems that prevent people from getting the help they need: 1.) There are many health care “workers” but only 2 doctors in a very large region and 2.) The shame of having to admit that you are or may be sick with HIV/AIDS prevents many from reaching out for help.

I would like to think that I have a brave enough part of my soul that would enable me to be a Peace Corps Volunteer but I don’t know if I would have what it takes.  Luckily, I have a few younger friends who do have what it takes and who are about to begin the application process so I’m looking forward to experiencing the PC life vicariously through them.

Some people are doing really amazing things out there, who do you know that is up to great things that you would like to know more about what they do?