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”.

Monday, March 2, 2009

February 26, 2009

Today I had my last HIVE class. HIVE (Human Immunodeficiency Virus Education) is a class that I teach to Zambian natives at Maramba Farm every Thursday afternoon. I, along with another medical volunteer (I was with Gillian for two weeks and Laura for one week), and Brave teach this class to a group of Zambians that are interested. It is a 5 week course that ends with a final exam – if they show up to every class and pass the final exam then they are graduates of the HIVE program. They receive a certificate at the end as well as a picture of themselves with their instructor. I really have enjoyed teaching this class and wish that I could be here for the last one but unfortunately I am leaving on Monday to go home! L I like teaching this class because it allows me to use some of my nursing knowledge and it also allows me to get to know a select group of Zambians really well. I will definitely miss this group when I leave.
Today we talked about Voluntary Counseling and Testing which is a process by which patients are provided with HIV counseling services as well as an HIV test. VCT is completely and totally confidential (which is a major issue because of the amount of discrimination that can happen if people know that you are HIV positive). We then talked about the medical treatment of HIV. I discussed the side effects of taking Anti-retroviral medications and what you can do to combat these side effects.
It was really quite sad to finish this class today because I knew that I would not see these people again for awhile. Although I plan to return to Zambia within the next year, I have become really close to all of the HIVE participants and it is going to be heartbreaking to leave them.