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”.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

February 11, 2009

This morning I went to the Hospice Center. I really, really like that place and am really glad that that I got to go there with Laura. She is a really sweet person and I am sure that lots of her patients in the UK love having her as their GP. The Hospice House is a pretty big place and is a lot nicer than I imagined it to be. The view from the back porch is unlike anything that I have ever seen - there is like a 360 degree view of the Zambian countryside. I'm sure the patients there find it a very relaxing place to be. The nursing staff and the nursing students started the morning off by singing a prayer. Laura and I obviously did not know the words but we clapped right along with them. They all had such beautiful voices and really harmonized well. After this, Laura and I went around to all the patients and did exercises with them. Since most of them are not able to get out of bed, we found that they really enjoyed being able to move their muscles a little bit. They all worked so hard on their exercises and I was thoroughly impressed with how badly they wanted to get better - it was such a huge difference from what I see back at home. I'm so used to having to make patients do things like their exercises that not having to do this was huge!!!! I love their positive attitudes.

There was a patient at the Hospice House that had Parksinson's disease. He was a young man named Joseph that used to be a professional soccer player. He talked about missing being able to run - so, in order to take his mind off of his sadness, we took about 5 or 6 walks that morning. He loved it and wanted to keep going for more and more walks. It really was sweet yet heartbreaking at the same time. When I first saw Joseph, I was instantly reminded of my dad. He was so similar to Dad in so many ways - at least how Dad used to be when he first got sick. The facial expression that never changes (always looks as if he is wearing a mask), the trembling lower lip, the shuffling gate, the blank stare, the loud swallowing, the trembling hands, and the obvious weight loss. The similarities were astounding and it really made me sad to know that diseases like Parkinson's are present in such amazing places - why does a country as open and loving as Zambia have to be affected by diseases like this? Why must there be suffering here? It brings up many, many questions in my mind. Joseph's best friend at the Hospice Center was a young boy named Kennedy who had cerebral palsy. After Laura and I woke Kennedy up from his Haldol induced sleep, we wheeled him out to the porch to sit next to Joseph. They sat on the porch together and played with Kennedy's truck. It was such a beautiful moment and I was really touched by it. Two lives, both striken by terrible disease and heartache, end up coming together to form one unbreakable friendship. Simply amazing.....