2007.03.30: March 30, 2007: Headlines: COS - Zambia: Ashland Daily Tidings: Laura Campbell is going to Zambia as a Peace Corps Volunteer

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Zambia: Peace Corps Zambia : Peace Corps Zamiba: Newest Stories: 2007.03.30: March 30, 2007: Headlines: COS - Zambia: Ashland Daily Tidings: Laura Campbell is going to Zambia as a Peace Corps Volunteer

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Laura Campbell is going to Zambia as a Peace Corps Volunteer

Laura Campbell is going to Zambia as a Peace Corps Volunteer

"In Australia, I physically saw the outcome of my labors," said Laura. That hands-on sense of satisfaction is what she anticipates encountering again in Zambia. For Laura, the Peace Corps are a "foot in the door to non-profits." That's where she sees her life heading. Eventually, she said, she'd like to run her own, one that brings children into contact with environmental learning in the same hands-on way she values.

Laura Campbell is going to Zambia as a Peace Corps Volunteer

Ashlander prepares for trip to southern Africa

By Curt Hopkins
For the Tidings

Laura Campbell 22, center, spends time with two of the many children that she cares for at the Ashland YMCA Victor 10 ,left, and his sister Nadya Green 9,right at Lithia Park during spring break week.

Laura Campbell is going to Zambia.

Maybe if that sentence read "Curt Hopkins is going to Zambia" or "Jane Doe is going to Zambia," there would be cause for surprise. But, according to her mother, Haylene, "Laura Campbell is going to Zambia" is not surprising statement. It is an inevitable one.

When Laura was a freshman in high school, she traveled to Brazil with her youth group at the First United Methodist Church of Ashland. There she helped remodel a day care center. During her sophomore and junior years at Ashland High School, she worked with handicapped students. She wrote her senior project on Glide, the San Francisco church committed to serving three meals a day, 365 days a year, to the poor and homeless.

"This is definitely something her heart has always gone toward helping the world," said her mother.

During the summer of her junior year in college, Laura signed up for another church mission, this time to Australia. There, she was able to unite her desire to be useful with her area of interest as a student in the Environmental Studies department at the University of Oregon. She captured and tagged, bred and released, indigenous animals. She also cultivated and planted indigenous plants.

Now that she has graduated with degrees in Environmental Studies and Urban Policy and Planning, Laura is doing what she's always done, but on a larger scale. Beginning June 12, Laura will spend 27 months in the southern African country of Zambia. Zambia is famous for its astonishing Victoria Falls and its wildlife. It is also, unfortunately, challenged by economic and health issues.

As part of the Peace Corps' "Life Program," Laura's work in Zambia will emphasize food, income and the environment. She will help to recondition over-planted soil, bringing its yield up and allowing for the planting and cultivation of food both for eating and for sale. This is especially vital around the country's national parks. She will also work with the country's HIV/AIDS system to help affected children. Finally, she will lead a group of Zambian women in the creation and marketing of handicrafts. The handicrafts will be brought back to the States and sold, with the money returning to the women who made them.

Haylene said Laura has already had experience in this sort of thing. United Methodist works with a group of Guatemalan women whose works the church markets and sells for them in the States. The women involved have all lost the men in their lives due to the decades-long genocidal civil war in that country, which only recently ended.

Laura's biggest anxiety about her assignment is the isolation. The first three months of Laura's program will take place in Zambia's capital, Lusaka. There Laura, along with six other participants in the Life Program, will undergo orientation. But she will then be posted, alone, to a village 30 to 60 miles away from her closest Peace Corps fellow. The projects she will be in charge of will require a daily bike ride of over 10 miles in each direction.

"In Australia, I physically saw the outcome of my labors," said Laura. That hands-on sense of satisfaction is what she anticipates encountering again in Zambia. For Laura, the Peace Corps are a "foot in the door to non-profits." That's where she sees her life heading. Eventually, she said, she'd like to run her own, one that brings children into contact with environmental learning in the same hands-on way she values.

Laura is excited to continue to share her experiences — the obstacles and the achievements — with the readers of the Daily Tidings. She has become a foreign correspondent for this paper and will send back dispatches on her time in Zambia and the issues she's involved in there.

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Story Source: Ashland Daily Tidings

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