from using the same toilet as an infected person and admitted they avoided public restrooms because of this. Helping eliminate the fear that comes with unfamiliarity and having the opportunity to better inform attendees on safe practices that might save some from sickness, gave me all the incentive I needed to volunteer my spare time to study and teach on this disease.
It was impossible to go to college without being reminded of poverty as I walked past the deteriorated Chicago public housing projects to get to class. Those with hollow stares, begging for change, had a more profound effect on me than most of my studies. So, I started posting flyers and organizing food and clothing drives that filled trucks with supplies for the Salvation Army and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Soon after I was elected President of the Student Alumni League, a group dedicated to volunteer work.
My sister, Jeannette, was in the Dominican Republic (D.R.) as a Peace Corps volunteer at the same time I was running the food drives. She often told me her classroom didn 't have basic materials and her students had never seen a map of the world. My mom and I had sent her packages that never arrived so I booked a ticket, packed my bags, and headed to the D.R.
My trip ended with a two week stay in the hospital after I contracted multiple infections. There were times I could not get out of bed and support my own weight. As an adult, I had never been helpless and disabled; it left me…