2007.09.28: September 28, 2007: Headlines: COS - Zambia: : Kimberly Grubb worked on HIV awareness and female empowerment projects as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Zambia: Peace Corps Zambia : Peace Corps Zamiba: Newest Stories: 2007.09.28: September 28, 2007: Headlines: COS - Zambia: : Kimberly Grubb worked on HIV awareness and female empowerment projects as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia

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Kimberly Grubb worked on HIV awareness and female empowerment projects as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia

Kimberly Grubb worked on HIV awareness and female empowerment projects as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia

In the Peace Corps, Grubb was assigned as a two-year volunteer in the HIV/AIDS awareness and female empowerment six-year initiative. In her village, Lengwe, in the Kawambwa district of the Luapula province, she began educational seminars and set up a structure with the locals to sustain the programs. Grubb's passion to help with AIDS awareness began at William and Mary. "It's a huge problem for countries, and it's setting them back more," Grubb said of developing nations combating the infection around the world. "It is affecting a lot of places, but Africa is the hardest hit." She lived in a hut made of sun-dried mud bricks and a straw roof among the villagers whom she helped. She was available for assistance at any time, as required by the Peace Corps. Grubb encountered difficulty introducing programs to the community; many people, she said, didn't want to take tests to see if they were infected with the virus. To combat the negative stigma around HIV and AIDS, she hosted social events that focused on health awareness.

Kimberly Grubb worked on HIV awareness and female empowerment projects as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zambia

Peace Corps volunteer back from Africa
During her two years in Zambia,

Kimberly Grubb worked on HIV awareness and female empowerment projects.

By Marvin Anderson

Kimberly Grubb's family and friends anxiously awaited her return from Africa. Her family, except her mother and sister, had not seen her in two years, and they crowded Roanoke Regional Airport on Sept. 17 wearing homemade shirts that spelled out "welcome" as they gazed the runway from windows for a glimpse of her face.

They screamed as she walked off the plane and later down the hallway.

Grubb knew her family was worried when she decided to leave for Zambia after graduating from the College of William and Mary in 2005. But she said she has a passion for helping others, and she couldn't resist accepting the Peace Corps offer to assist South Africa's HIV awareness campaign.

Her family, supportive of her decision, gave her hugs and kisses, and after nearly 30 minutes of greetings, Grubb pulled out a gourd and began to tell her family of her experience.

"What is it?" her cousin asked as Grubb began to drink her first Diet Dr Pepper since her trek's beginning.

Grubb explained how the gourd is used like a cup and began to talk about her two-year volunteer experience.

She knew her family was concerned for her while she was away, and later, she too admitted she was worried but was helped by the care she received from her neighbors.

"I was worried that I would be lonely in my village," said Grubb, a Cave Spring High School alumna. "But they were my family and my friends while I was there."

In the Peace Corps, Grubb was assigned as a two-year volunteer in the HIV/AIDS awareness and female empowerment six-year initiative. In her village, Lengwe, in the Kawambwa district of the Luapula province, she began educational seminars and set up a structure with the locals to sustain the programs.

Grubb's passion to help with AIDS awareness began at William and Mary.

"It's a huge problem for countries, and it's setting them back more," Grubb said of developing nations combating the infection around the world. "It is affecting a lot of places, but Africa is the hardest hit."

She lived in a hut made of sun-dried mud bricks and a straw roof among the villagers whom she helped. She was available for assistance at any time, as required by the Peace Corps.

Grubb encountered difficulty introducing programs to the community; many people, she said, didn't want to take tests to see if they were infected with the virus. To combat the negative stigma around HIV and AIDS, she hosted social events that focused on health awareness.

In all, Grubb held a Girl Career Week with 100 female participants that traveled around and learned of occupations and trades they could master. She hosted three week-long youth camps with 50 participants at each; she began a volunteer counseling and testing service, a life skills training group to take over the projects when she left; and a Girls Leading Our World organization for female empowerment.

GLOW, a group of 15 females, raised funds to generate money for each of the members to attend school. The group made pins for HIV/AIDS awareness and sold them in the U.S. with the assistance of Grubb's family.

The Cave Spring Rescue Squad Auxiliary supported GLOW by purchasing pins and donated money.

"We have just thought the work that Kimberly has doing has been wonderful," said Sylvia Grant, vice president of the squad. "To think, just the sacrifices she made."

Grant said they admired Grubb for her work. Because of support, Grubb said her experience was better than what she initially thought.

"It was a lot better than I thought it would be," Grubb said of her work. "There wasn't a point when I thought maybe I should quit and go home."

Her family placed bets on how long she would stay, said Kelly Wray, Grubb's sister.

"My friends and I were like, she won't last," Wray said. "Kim's always been the delicate one in the family. But after the first few months we were like, all right, she's staying."

Wray and their mother visited Grubb for three weeks while she was in Zambia and stayed in the village for four or five days.

Aside from the bugs, Wray enjoyed her stay and helped Grubb with a shirt design for her awareness project.

Grubb wants to continue her work in health and gender empowerment around the world, but, for now, her aim is to obtain a master's degree in international development.

The stay in Zambia was something she will always remember, she said.

Her departure was filled with an exchange of hugs, smiles, laughs and tears. She left with the hope that one day she would return to her family thousands of miles away.

"They are my family and my friends," she said. "I definitely felt like I was part of the community and belonged there."




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Headlines: September, 2007; Peace Corps Zambia; Directory of Zambia RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Zambia RPCVs





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