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A Non-Traditional Summer Vacation: Fairfax Student Helps with AIDS/HIV Education in Africa | Super NoVA

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A Non-Traditional Summer Vacation: Fairfax Student Helps with AIDS/HIV Education in Africa
Super NoVA
A Non-Traditional Summer Vacation: Fairfax Student Helps with AIDS/HIV Education in Africa

A Super NoVA is an individual that stands out in the crowd of Northern Virginians. Katrina Schwien of Annandale is this week’s Super NoVA for her non-traditional summer vacation. Schwien, a rising junior at the Trinity Christian School, recently returned from her travels to Taku, a small village in Cameroon located in west Central Africa. In Taku, she was part of a five-student team that worked with an indigenous minority language group translating information about HIV/AIDS.

“Translating medical material into a form villagers can understand will make it easier for them to prevent and stop the spread of this disease that affects 33 million people, nearly two-thirds of whom live in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Emily Ranshaw, a spokesperson for Wycliffe Bible Translators.

In order to get to the village, the group flew into Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, and then had to take a “bush taxi” for two days. 

"You would not believe the roads," said Schwien as said described the incredible amount of car trouble they experienced while getting to the remote village of Taku. 

After the girls in the group arrived in Taku, they spent ten hours getting their hair braided in order to fit better in the culture, and because they would not be able to wash their hair in the village. The group spent a total of eight nights in the village with no electricity, paved roads, bathrooms or running water. 

“The goal was to bless the people of this village and to experience a different culture. I like to travel and I think I might want to be some sort of missionary when I’m older,” said Schwien.

The trip was organized by Wycliffe Bible Translators and mirrored the early missionary field experience because the group was completely immersed in this remote African community. Schwien hopes to send a care package to her host family when a new group travels to Cameroon next summer. Check out the video to hear more about her experience.

Know someone who you think would be a good Super NoVA? Send any nominations (including yourself!) to escott@wusa9.com.

 

 

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