Having grown up in a small town whetted my appetite for exploring! So in college I took advantage of my junior semester abroad to explore Kenya. That led to a follow up year abroad as a fellow with the Thomas J Watson Foundation, a year that probably was my first real experience in self sufficiency as well as learning to trust, myself and others. What happened during that year pretty much set the stage for the next part of my life for several reasons.
Long story short, I fell in love multiple times. First love - travel! Being somewhere new, where I had not history, only the path ahead, and where each day required moving forward with eyes wide open, paying attention...all that made me feel really alive. Still does. That's probably why I love hearing people's life stories and learning new languages. I discovered that yes, I could live away from home for the holidays and survive. This trip pre-dated cell phones and email, and landline calls cost a lot of money. So they were few, I think twice in one year. As a parent now, I can only imagine how worrisome it was for my parents to have their daughter half way across the world. And also as a parent now, I realize how fortunate i've been, having kids in faraway places but always with some way to reach them...
Love number two: I discovered the joy of helping others, and in particularly when that also involved helping them to help themselves. And I knew healthcare was something I wanted to be involved in.
This photo is me interviewing a TBA (Traditional Birth Attendant) from a village surrounding the mission hospital where I volunteered. Mary, the nurse translating, was Western trained, and we were on a "mobile safari" having traveled over rutted dirt paths in a land rover from the hospital to this village. The goal was to build trust with local leaders and healers, to encourage safer births and de-stigmatize going to the hospital, all with the goal to save lives of moms and their children. I will need to dig up more photos from that era, if I can find them! Yet another reason to get those pre-digital photos organized....
But for now on to the my 3rd love discovered during this year, and not the least. I met Ted, this guy from California using medical school loans creatively to volunteer around the world. Turns out he shared my love number one for travel, and though we got off to what some may describe as a bit of a rocky start, 36 years later, here we are.
More to come!