Into Africa

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three volunteer students
The French organization Medecins Sans Frontiers (Doctors Without Borders) has gained much notoriety for its humanitarian healthcare efforts. The group sends volunteer physicians to areas in desperate need of health care services. A new College of Biological Sciences student group, launched this spring, is adapting the model for biology students eager to travel, gain experience and make a contribution.

Biology Without Borders (BWB) was formed to fill a niche for students interested in a more intensive, volunteer-based travel abroad experience. They began planning their first trip this spring.

Anh Tran, Jared Liebelt and Tiffany Felts are spending the month of August in Bukoba, Tanzania—a city of 80,000 located along the western shore of Lake Victoria. The trio is volunteering in hospitals and clinics in the region.

“A lot of us are pre-med volunteers at Fairview,? says Anh, “but we don’t get very hands on.? The group will be doing just that at the Hindu Charitable Dispensary and the Kagera Regional Government Hospital among other locations. “I think volunteering is fun,? adds Tiffany. “And, obviously you can’t get the same experience here.? For Anh, it’s an opportunity to show that students can make a difference—and to try the local cuisine since McDonald’s probably won’t be easily accessible.

They depart August 1. Meanwhile, they’re finishing summer term, raising funds for next year and pondering what to pack on their first solo trip abroad for each. Sunscreen, mosquito nets and all-important bug repellent all made the list. Says Tiffany: “I’m bringing, like, 80 pounds of bug spray.?

Check out the group’s itinerary and find out how to make a contribution at www.tc.umn.edu/~bwb.

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wow biology without borders? I love it. Maybe more students will now take up sciences.

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This page contains a single entry by CBS published on July 25, 2007 3:33 PM.

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