You may be wondering...

..who I am:
My name is Amanda Baxley and I am from the teeny town of Hartsville, South Carolina. I went to the College of Charleston and graduated in 2006 with a BA in Biology and a minor in Psychology. After taking a year off to work, I got accepted to the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing. I graduated from the Accelerated BSN program this past December and am now officially a RN!!! I have had the same amazing boyfriend for the past 4 years now and will hopefully be lucky enough to be engaged to him very soon! And I definitely can't go without mentioning the other love in my sweet, adorable 4 year old Daschund named Sadie. She is my best friend and always beside me!

...what this blog is all about:
Giving others a chance to experience Livingstone, Zambia right along with me.

...when I will be in Zambia:
From January 31 until March 2 of this year.

...where Livingstone, Zambia is located:
Livingstone is the current capital of Zambia, a country in the southern portion of Africa. Livingstone is approximately 10km south of Victoria Falls, one of the largest waterfalls in the world.

...why I am going there:
To provide healthcare to the disadvantaged citizens of Livingstone. Zambia is one of the world's poorest countries in the world and, as a result, healthcare is ineffecient. Because of the lack of adequate healthcare and health related education, Zambia is one of the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa most affected by HIV and AIDS. Growing up, I was lucky enough to see the way that my dad cared about people other than himself. So...long story short, about 10 months ago, I made the decision to go to Zambia so that I could begin using my medical skills like my father used his - to help those that are unable (no matter what the reason) to help themselves.

“For the first time in human history, we have the science, the technology, and the money to end extreme poverty. With this unprecedented historic opportunity comes the responsibility to act”.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

How do you pack for a month long trip?

Yeah...I certainly agree with what most of you are probably thinking, but I just had to take a picture of one of my suitcases (I am only taking two!) so that I could officially say that I AM DONE PACKING! I never realized how much thought and time it would take to pack for a month long trip! But thank god I am finally done! No matter how much stuff I take I'm sure that I will end up forgetting at least one thing, but at this point, I'm just thrilled to be finished getting things together. I used Space Bags to put all my stuff in before I packed it all in my suitcase and have come to the conclusion that they are one of the coolest inventions in the world. I'm sure I am the last person on the planet to discover these things but I am glad that I did! You vacuum out all the air in the bags after you put your things in them and you instantly have so much more room in your suitcase! Pretty awesome. And yes, for those of you that noticed the picture, I did pack fingernail polish and remover because you always gotta have pretty matter where you are! :)

I also bought two headsets today (one for me and one for Bradley) that have little microphones attached and are meant to be used with a computer. We both downloaded this software called SKYPE, which is a phone that works through your internet connection, and are going to use it, along with the headsets, to call each other while I am gone. SKYPE allows you to make international phone calls over your computer for free! I'm so glad that I found this software and figured out how to use it because I am going to miss him like crazy and have to have a way to at least hear his voice...and now I do!! My mom is also going to download it and buy a pair of headsets as well so that I can keep in touch with her...and stay up to date on how my Dad, Sadie, Madeline, and everyone else are doing!

So...only two more days until I leave for Nashville...and only 4 more days until I am off to Africa! soon!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Counting down....'s hard to believe that a year has gone by since I started planning my trip to Zambia. And now I am actually leaving in 8 days! I am so excited about it but kinda nervous at the same time. I often does someone get the opportunity to take a trip like this? I can't wait to step out of my comfort zone and test myself as a person. I can't wait to see things I have never seen before, experience things that the majority of the world has never experienced, and be able to care for people that truly need me. And to do this all on my own - without one single familiar face anywhere around - is going to be a huge (but incredible) challenge. Simply's going to be amazing. I fly out of Nashville, TN on January 31st. My first stop is in Detroit where I will have 45 minutes to catch the plane that takes me to Paris, France. After that 7 hour flight, I will be in Paris for 2 hours. I will then be on a 10 1/2 hour flight that will take me to Johannesburg, South Africa. I have a 13 hour layover in Johannesburg - but don't worry!!! I have booked a hotel room at the Safari Club South Africa (which is a hotel that is only 500 meters from the airport) so I can use at least 10 of those hours to get some freaking rest!!!! The next morning at 10:45, I have an hour and 45 minute flight to Livingstone!!!! I will get picked up from the Livingstone aiport and taken directly to the African Impact volunteer house where I will begin my medical project!!! Whew.....pretty packed schedule huh? Gonna be so tired but it is definitely going to be worth it.

I hope to be able to post to this blog at least every other day so I can document all the experiences that I have during my trip! I can't wait for it to start and just wanted to say thanks to everyone who helped make this trip possible. I am eternally grateful!!!