By Shayla Price.
The hotel suite’s view was breathtaking, yet mind-boggling. Through the Victorian style window, I saw the rich, red clay of the roads crowded with playful children surrounded by dilapidated buildings in desperate need of repair.
Like most young Americans, I have always dreamed of traveling abroad. Now, I had my chance! In the summer of 2010, I had an incredible opportunity to travel to Kampala, Uganda, Africa. As a research team member of Southern University’s International Center for Information Technology and Development, I helped develop a case study about how mobile technology impacts health care in resource-poor communities.
Similar to other countries, Uganda has its challenges. Citizens are faced with health issues stemming from malaria, typhoid and yellow fever, and residents have an average life expectancy of 54-years-old. Nonetheless, local facilities and volunteers are continuing to build functioning community structures to bring access to quality health services to underserved populations.
As a result of my experience in Uganda, I have learned that the United States has role of preserving human equality and liberty around the world. Standing for the idea of political freedom, Americans shape and define the principles of independence and self-government. When America protects the interest of justice of people abroad, it secures the blessings of liberty at home.
In the past, I thought of volunteering as mentoring a child at a neighborhood school or joining a statewide nonprofit coalition. But, after returning from Africa, I understood that my volunteer efforts should reach a global scale. In January 2011, SCOUT BANANA, a non- profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about the lack of basic health care in Africa, welcomed me as a new member of its Board of Directors. I am proud to be part of a youth-led team supporting organizations working in communities to provide basic health needs in Africa.
Traveling abroad for me was a life-changing experience. When I look at the picture of my hotel view, I now see a sense of hope for Africa, and America’s capacity to change lives around the world. To learn more about mobile healthcare in Uganda, go to http://ires.icitd.com/. Also, visit SCOUT BANANA
Shayla R. Price, J.D. is an advocate for civic engagement and was named one of Ebony magazine’s 2009 young leaders. Currently, she is a governor-appointed youth commissioner for the Volunteer Louisiana. Prior to government service, Price worked as a marketing director for ProgressiveU.org, a social welfare organization that seeks to give high school and college students a voice. While in high school, she earned more than $100,000 in college scholarships and authored the book titled “The Scholarship Search: A Guide to Winning Free Money for College and More.”
The Bringing the World Home blog series highlights young Americans’ experiences living, traveling or working outside of the US. Find out how to contribute on our website.