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AFRICAN HEALTH EXPERIENCE - 2007

The opportunity to go to South Africa came as a surprise. I was finishing my bachelors degree in Kinesiology at California State University, Fullerton when I received news of my nomination. The Golden Key Honour Society (GK) nominated me to represent my university and community by traveling to South Africa on behalf of the International Scholar Laureate Program (ISLP) – Delegation on Nursing. The ISLP brings exceptional college and university students from around the country to an experiential educational program.

I joined GK because I was invited to do so because of my academic achievement. However, I also joined because GK encourages leadership, scholastic achievement in diverse academic disciplines, personal growth, and the opportunity for its members to become active within the organization. These are attributes I admire and aspire to obtain and become.

During my visit to South Africa, I will document the experience to a daily blog (an online journal) hosted by The Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County. You can access the blog by going to http://www.ocblackchamber.com/media_blogs.htm. The purpose of the blog is to give readers day-by-day insight about nursing in South Africa and the health care system, the HIV/AIDS pandemic, and much more. Through the documentary, readers will have the opportunity to experience South Africa with me.

The United States has provided South Africa with annual development assistance, particularly in HIV/AIDS relief. In 2005 the USA Presidential Emergency Program for AIDS devoted $2.8 billion. By documenting my experience I hope to accomplish a complete understanding of how that money is allocated, why the disease has become a pandemic, who the disease affects the most and why, and understand the challenges faced by the health care professionals as they skillfully work with patients dying from AIDS and their children are left to live at orphanages.

While in South Africa I will travel to Cape Town, Durban, a traditional Zulu village called Kwabhekithunga, and Johannesburg. As a Delegate on Nursing, I will be privileged to go behind the scenes to public health clinics and hospitals to observe firsthand the dedication of the nurses; as well as visiting an orphanage where children have lost family members to AIDS.

Going to South Africa will be a powerful experience, enabling me to interact with many prominent men and women whom most of us only read about in the news. This is a once in a life time opportunity for me to see personally the devastation that AIDS/HIV has caused the people of South Africa.

This is an experience that will change my life forever and all of this would not be possible without the support from my sponsors. So, to them as I express my gratitude to the fullest… I say thank you: Black Chamber of Commerce of Orange County, Bobby McDonald, William N. Byers, Marlene Dyce, Chuck Moore, Tracey Veal; IntraTek Computer, Inc., Alan Fahimi; Michelle Barr; Eugene Bell; Kathy & Duke Bischoff; Darryl Burns; Dr. Cheryl Cooky; Candace Fleming; James & Patty Galvez; Becky Hall; Bobby Jones; Dr. Jessie Jones; Dr. Robert Kersey; Fahness Lutalo; Marlo Messner; Carol Montgomery & Tom Getty; Kay & Don Mosure; James R. Ray; Dr. Leslie Richards; Carol Skiba & William Seigler; Tara Scharaga; Jackie Skiba; Lora Spicer; Tamara Williams; Tommie Williams; Vernecer Williams.

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