This weekend marks the celebration of the independence of a new nation, the Republic of South Sudan. A close friend, Ken Isaacs, was there to witness the joy:

"Today the Republic of South Sudan declared its independence from Sudan. Hundreds of thousands of people were present as well as dozens of dignitaries and international representatives.

There were parades of the various military units of the South. Youth groups, wounded veterans, police corps and other citizen groups also marched past the grandstand.

I have never seen or experienced such joy in Sudan. People cheered as loud as thunder. They sang and cried with tears of joy."
Having reached the midpoint of my summer field experience, I can’t help but reflect on the past seven weeks and realize that this was the most ideal placement for me. The Tennessee Cancer Coalition (TC2), its members, and my supervisors have encouraged and supported me in my efforts to develop a comprehensive skin cancer prevention program for high school students. I must also take the opportunity to thank Big Kenny and the Love Everybody Fund. Without that support, I wouldn’t be able to devote the time, energy and passion necessary to complete a project of this magnitude.
On June 30, 2011, my fellow ETSU Frist Global Health Leader, Megan Quinn and I had the opportunity to meet with the Orphan and Vulnerable Children Coordinator of a local NGO in Munsieville, Lagae La Bana (Home for the Children). This organization focuses on servicing orphaned and vulnerable children with daily meals and social support throughout the year. During that meeting, it was decided that a program for those children would be implemented during winter break from school. The program focuses on engaging children in the area of academics, arts, sports, and health issues of the community. This program also seeks to engage pensioners and non-working adults in developing a cooperative. This cooperative will seek to start a project that benefits the community through government funding.
Summer school is currently in full swing throughout American Samoa. In the morning time you will often see several school children walking or taking the bus to school with their backpacks on chatting with their friends and local street vendors selling fresh banana, taro, and bok choy to passersby. By 9:00 many classes are in session with bright eyed students soaking in morning lessons. By mid-day students are offered a generous snack/lunch. During break periods and afterschool, it is common to see students hanging out by the fales (a hut like structure).
Over the past two weeks, I have had the opportunity to experience the beauty of South Africa, relish in the culture, and learn from the local people. My colleague, Twanda Wadlington and I are based in the West Rand district of the Guateng province, specifically working in the Munsieville township. We are both working with Project Hope United Kingdom’s “Thoughtful Path” program.

The Thoughtful Path program aims to engage and empower the community to create positive health and social change for the orphaned and vulnerable children in Munsieville. The community, community based organizations, and the local government are typically involved in all aspects of the various projects associated with the Thoughtful Path. That said, we have had the opportunity to meet with a variety of different community members and organizations during our time here.
My internship with the Tennessee Cancer Coalition (TC2) is going very, very well! I have made significant progress on the skin cancer prevention toolkit through consultation with experts in the TC2 – Jackson region, the TC2 Skin Cancer Resource Committee Chair from Knoxville, and one of my local supervisors who represents the American Cancer Society. I will be contacting a melanoma survivor from Appalachia as well as a local high school health educator in the coming days in an effort to incorporate their input and experiences into the program as well. Additionally, we will be adding another sun safety awareness event to our schedule. On July 16th, we will provide no-cost educational materials and sun protection aids (i.e., visors, SPF 15 sunscreen, etc.) to those participating in health screenings during the Johnson City Farmers’ Market.
When Brande asked me to fill in for the Water = Hope Campaign, I couldn't have been happier. Having heard about the organization from her, I know it was an outreach effort really committed to making a difference in both the U.S. and abroad.

Coming primarily from a corporate event marketing background, I'm accustom to having a 'sell' at the events I manage. This time the 'sell' was easy - Everyone Everywhere should have access to clean drinking water. Period. Done.
We are very proud to be back out with Brad Paisley on his H20 Tour again this year. Our first stops in Virginia Beach, Hartford and Cleveland were a hug success; we talked to lots and lots of country fans about the importance of clean water. As always, we were impressed by how engaged fans were in our project, and how eager they were to help. Our first three shows were a big success, and we are very excited about the remaining dates over the course of the summer.

Like last year, we are also using our work with Brad to provide unique volunteer opportunities for those interested in this issue. By volunteering, you are not only contributing to your community (and getting a free Brad Paisley show as a thank you!) but demonstrating first hand the idea that a ‘small drop can make a big ripple’! To learn more about volunteering and to get signed up, visit:

http://www.waterequalshope.org/volunteer
Last night, Hope Through Healing Hands and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health partnered hosting a meeting with the members of the Tennessee Global Health Coalition (TGHC). Doctors, academicians, nonprofit leaders, faith leaders, and private sector leaders alike joined together representing over 80 different organizations to discuss their work in global health and ways in which we could all work together better.
Talofa (greetings)! I arrived in American Samoa almost a week ago, and have fallen in love with the Samoan culture. I have found the people to be very friendly, the fresh foods are delicious, and the oceanic and mountainous views to be postcard worthy.

I have also been fascinated by the beauty of the traditional Samoan garb. It is very common to find men wearing Lava Lavas which is a cloth like wrap skirt, and the women to be clad in beautifully printed dresses complimented by a flower in their hair.

As I witness the beauty of this island, I have also taken note of the obesity problem. It baffles me to see people of an island that has a plethora of nutritious food to have one of the world’s highest obesity rates.

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