Her Impact: It Starts with One

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Wake Forest junior Christie Jones has always found herself attracted to service opportunities.  But, she still had one place she had never been: Africa.  So, when her Church’s missionary trip to Kenya was planned the same week as her spring break, Christie knew this was her opportunity. 

With a team of 9 volunteers and 2 stationed missionaries, Christie worked with the nonprofit Start With One to help provide a Kenyan community with clean water filters.  Christie explains, “The impact of dirty water is more severe than even the impact of HIV/AIDS.”  Unlike HIV/AIDS, the illnesses stemming from a lack of clean water are more preventable.  Part of Christie’s tasks as a volunteer was to help not only install these water filters, but also to help educate the community about proper hygiene and the importance of clean water.  Many of these Kenyans did not know the basic rules of hygiene such as washing your hands before and after every meal.  Thus, illnesses such as typhoid and chlorea are big killers throughout villages. 

Along with installing new water filters, Christie also spent her afternoons visiting various schools.  She was particularly touched by the hearts of middle school kids she encountered at the local boarding school.  Because these kids were older and knew more English, Christie was able to talk with them more about life.  She describes them as “gracious, kind, and welcoming.”  All the students welcomed Christie and her group with open arms.  On her second visit to the school, some of the students had written her letters asking her to be their friend.  She returned the gesture with a similar letter. 

Coming back to Wake, Christie has started to realize how often we students spend most of our time thinking about ourselves and the daily grind.  She has been inspired to be more active in our community even through simple actions.  She explains, “You don’t have to go to Kenya to make a difference, you can start by doing something small or taking baby steps.” 

“Everyone thinks that Kenya needs to learn from the US, but really there is so much that the US can learn from Kenya,” Christie says.  The Kenyan children she met over spring break were happiest with the simplest of things.  One meal a day is enough for these children who never once complained.  This is a far cry from our childhoods, when we thought that if we didn’t get the newest Lisa Frank binder our lives would be over. 

But, as Christie mentioned, collegiettes, you don’t have to go to Kenya to make a difference.  As the organization that Christie volunteered with preaches, it all starts with one.  “One person, one action, one place,” Christie says.  Sounds simple enough.  

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About The Author

Ashley is a senior at Wake Forest University majoring in History and minoring in Psychology and Sociology. She loves traveling and meeting new people. She especially loves African history and loves the country of South Africa. She hopes to work as a fundraiser for a nonprofit one day, but will go wherever life takes her!