Hello to family & friends!
I have a declaration to announce, so I hope you have a couple of minutes to spare. Please bare with me because you are about to experience a plethora of emotions, desires, and need. Keep in mind, I wouldn't write if I didn't have a purpose.
It wasn't until I had turned 19 years old that I had developed a profound interest in making a difference in other people's lives. Yes, I had been involved in many extracurricular school activities and service-learning projects in high school, but a lot of that had to do with resume building. Don't get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed my participation, but I also felt like I had to get involved in order to polish prospective college applications. That was before I even knew what I wanted to study, what I wanted to pursue in life. That was before I had a clue or any realization that I was destined to perform tasks greater than my personal existence here on Earth.
My stumble-upon, "Aha!" moment came when I clicked on an add for a documentary called "I am Because We Are". I'll never forget that night because I had returned home from my job, bitter and angry. I was terribly bored and overdue for a well deserved wake-up call. The title of the documentary is a translation of a Chichewan African ethic philosophy, "uMunthu." The phrase is centered around human interactions and relationships with one another - essentially, I am not defined without you. The film itself concentrates on the devastating effects of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, orphaning thousands of children in Malawi, Africa every year.
Malawi is a densely populated, land-locked country in southeast Africa, spanning an area of 118,480 sq km (slightly smaller than the country of Greece). According to the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF), in 2010 Malawi stood home to an estimated 14,901,000 people and averaged a GNI per capita (US$) of 330. That is an income of less than a dollar per day per person. In addition, the estimated number of people (all ages) living with HIV in 2009 was 920,000, with increasing transmissions every year (UNICEF 2012). Alone, the estimated number of HIV positive women (aged 15 ) producing mother-to-child transmission in 2009 was 470,000. Lastly, the number of children orphaned by AIDS (aged 0-17) in 2009 was 650,000 (UNICEF 2012).
In addition to HIV/AIDs, geographical location has left Malawi as an ideal region for mosquito habitats. Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans. People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented (CDC 2012). Every day in Malawi, over 110 people die of malaria "“ nearly half of them under the age of 18. Throughout Africa, 3,000 children die each day from this preventable disease (UNICEF 2012). My project involvement will lead workshops on how to treat mosquito nets to avoid Malaria transmission.
The numbers are calling me to attention. I've taken an interest in the history of this country; I'm curious. What has provoked Malawi's current HIV/AIDS situation to spin out of control? In addition to political influence and structure, lack of financial stability and educational resources have disadvantaged the people of Malawi. Sex education has been considered "taboo". It is inevitable to notice that this country is experiencing a medical crisis.
I want to help. I like to consider education one of my greatest gifts. For those of you who know me, I am aspiring to become a Registered Nurse with my Bachelor of Science in Nursing. I recently just graduated with my Associate Degree in Pre-Nursing from Cascadia Community College in Bothell, Washington. My schooling for my Nurse Assistant Certificate required me to become certified in HIV/AIDs education. I also had to complete an extensive research project on Malaria for a Physiology final in my biology sequence. I hope to utilize my knowledge to help educate those who sincerely need it.
In order for me to achieve this dream of mine, I need your help. I would like to raise around $3000 to help cover project expenses. I will be working through an organization called African Impact. They have supplied Africa with many service projects in medical awareness, conservation, and education. I will be supporting and assisting local communities in the Mangotchi District through work in different medical project areas such as Home Based Care, malaria prevention and HIV/AIDS education. Your donation will help pay for the project itself ($1600), flights ($2000), travel insurance ($150), travel visas, and vaccinations.
For those of you interested in providing a donation via mail, my address is:
12200 129th LN NE M406,
Kirkland, WA 98034
I have never wanted to support a cause as much as I would like to help in Malawi. I have been so heavily influenced by this country that I began sponsoring a young girl named Doreen through World Vision. Her mother is a victim of HIV/AIDs. I hope to potentially arrange a time to meet her throughout my duration in Malawi. Like uMunthu, your contributions will help define me. Any amount would help significantly. I appreciate your support and belief in my cause - thank you.
Contact me via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jamie.dn
Contact me via E-mail:
For more information on African Impact:
For those interested in sponsoring children throughout the world: https://www.worldvision.org
You can watch the full documentary, "I Am Because We are" on Youtube.
"History of Malawi." The Malawi Project, Inc. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Oct. 2012.
UNICEF. "Malawi." UNICEF. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2012.
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