"The greatest oppression is to those that don't truly know they are not free."


Why Go? Where Go? How Go?


2/3 of all people infected with HIV live in sub-Saharan Africa.

Yet sub-Saran Africa makes up only 1/10 of the world's population.

There is NO CURE for AIDS. This is why we must PREVENT it to stop it.


February 2009
Walking on my way to class, one poster out of a row of many lining Bruin Walk catches my eye. A child with eyes that unknowingly bare his deep, round soul look straight at me. I walk away with thoughts of assignments, tests, and other menial matters a college junior must occupy herself with. 

A couple days later I find myself investigating the source of the poster. My findings lead me to One Heart Source, a grass-roots student-initiated and run non-profit organization, on the search for willing persons of the passionate and compassionate kind. A month later I sit in front of a panel of dynamic, interesting, and perhaps a little off-beat people. It's not hard for me to make them smile with my stories of my world travels, eating cow brains, educating and befriending kids world-wide, and spending summers digging foundations and putting up framing. A word about a vision shared with MLK Jr. about being the change we wish to see in our own generation and world sealed my future as a member of this team. We would embark in the summer to Tanzania and join in the work already begun there, caring for AIDS orphans, building community structures, giving the village community tools to improve their own standard of living, and teaching HIV/AIDS prevention in schools.

When my own life issues got in the way only weeks later, it became apparent I would not be traveling to Tanzania that summer. OHS was more than understanding and offered me a open acceptance into the program. Dealing with my own hardships only fueled me more to recover and find my way across the Atlantic to Africa. My savings account that I had begun in high school with the label "Travel Fund" also acted a spark to get on the road, even though bills, car breakdowns, medical needs, and life had interfered with the actual amount that would have accumulated over the years. Senioritis manifested itself with me as a perpetual need to search for plane tickets, countries to visit, hostels to stay in, people to see, things to do, ways to get from here to there, etc. 

Soon a list emerged of reason to go and what to do where.
 1) Childhood dreams to ride legendary Mongolian horses must be fulfilled.
 2) Family in Taiwan must be visited (for the first time in four years). 
 3) Dick Taylor's friends in the Church in Addis Ababa must be greeted. 
 4) Work must be done in Tanzania to break the cycle of AIDS and help children who have     been affected by the disease. 
 5) The Arabian Nights exclusive to Morocco must be experienced.
 6) The relics of Ancient Egypt must be studied
 7) My long-promised visit to the Salmon/Ruiz clan in New Zealand must be made
 8) The ever-evasive Hawaiian vacation must be found.

And so, with a blue-print drawn up, the scheming begins to find the most affordable means as well as the missing funds for execution. I'll work extra hours, I'll win some more scholarships, I'll save all my money (no new clothes or extra snacks), I'll fundraise, and by the end of the summer, around the world I will go.