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Good Deeds Done by Journeywoman Travellers

I gave my phone card to a student...
When I was finished traveling through Costa Rica, I still had a ton of minutes left on my phone card. I met (online, through CouchSurfing) a woman who was about to move there for a year to study Spanish, and sent her the card from my next destination. It won't win me a Nobel Peace Prize, but was a random act of kindness that this starving-artist-student definitely appreciated!
Sonia, Washington, USA


I was a nurse on a medical mission in Brazil...
I have just returned from a medical mission in Birigui, Brazil. We were there for 10 days performing surgeries on children from low income families. The people were absolutely amazing... so friendly and hospitable. I'm a Registered Orthopaedic Technologist and work at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. A staff orthopaedic surgeon, two ortho O.R. registered nurses and myself took part in over a dozen surgeries, with the help of the local hospital staff. My role was to apply the casts following surgery. Some of these children were diagnosed over a year and a half ago and have been waiting all this time for their operation! The project is led by Dr. Fabio Ferri-de-Barros, a Brazilian physician with international training in Pediatric Orthopaedics, who currently works at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. P.S. Thank you so much for developing Journeywoman. I enjoy it so much and eagerly look forward to each issue.
Jean, Toronto, Canada


I helped an injured woman at Obama's inauguration...
While in Washington D.C. for the Inauguration I was walking around the blocks near the White House when I heard a man yelling, "somebody call 911!" I saw him and looked down to see a woman on the ground at his feet. I ran the half block and discovered the woman had tripped, fallen and hit the ground face first. She was bleeding from a huge cut at the bridge of her nose and was shaken up. I could hear someone else calling 911 so I grabbed the Kleenex I had in my pocket and immediately applied pressure to the wound. As I asked the woman if she hurt anywhere else, a man on the phone was yelling at us, "How old is she?" I know he was asking for the EMT's but I blurted out, "Don't you know you never ask a woman her age?" She laughed and said, "Merci." We did find out she was 70 and that she wasn't hurt anywhere else nor feeling faint. She did tell us she'd been looking at the buildings and simply tripped. She was embarassed. She had on a faux fur stole and I kept the blood from getting on it and knew the ambulance was in route as I could hear the sirens. I retrieved her broken glasses and placed them carefully in the purse she had strapped across her chest. The EMT's arrived and with a smile and a pat on the arm bid her "adieu."
Claudia, Hollywood, USA


I raise money for Agent Orange victims in Viet Nam...
I visit Viet Nam most summers as I lead guided tours to Viet Nam. When I first went back to Viet Nam (I was there during the American war) I began to fund raise and visit "Rosy Jade" which is a rehabilitation centre dealing mostly with Agent Orange young people. Originally they taught and cared for 150 young people, now the center treats over 450 people. Another year I got acquainted with "The Friendship Village" which is a place that cares for children and veterans affected with Agent Orange. Each year I take my group there so they too can spread the word about helping these people. I also give presentations on behalf of the Village. The most fun is going to play with the children each year. I am also part of a fundraising group that builds comfort houses—small cinder block homes for the many widows left from the war.
Beth, Saskatoon, Canada


I helped three travellers find a place to stay...
Many years ago when I was travelling around Australia I was helped along the way by many people in a variety of different ways. Then one day after I'd landed in Hobart, Tasmania. a new friend came over to help me clean my kitchen and she said "Don't repay me for this - Pass it on!" So since then I have, as often as I have the opportunity. Last month three Dutch travellers passed through Melbourne and I was able to put them in touch with my parents who live in South Australia where they were able to stay at my house there. They got to meet my folks and for two days they all had lots of fun together. If we all look out for each other and "Pass It On" then we all can have better times. I may live in Melbourne but I'm always on a "journey"!
Jennifer, Melbourne, Australia


I distributed toys in Mexico...
While in Mexico (Puerto Vallarta area) I volunteered to help out with the Jan 6 (New Year's Day) tradition of ex-pats who distribute toys and supplies to back country schools, etc. It was the best part of my time in Mexico. This group fund-raises all year to purchase supplies and toys and supports cleft-palette surgery and club-foot corrections. When we took off for our day-long trip to various villages I was astounded at the joyous welcome we received everywhere. I was also asked by a serious young boy who was manning a stall in the market to speak into his tape recorder so he would have my voice and pronunciation for his studies. Now my voice is helping him learn English long after I had left Mexico. This is another of those times when one is thankful to have the experience of being a visitor as opposed to being a tourist. Hope all new volunteers have as much fun as I have had.
Joan, Sechelt, Canada


I returned lost money...
Recently while on a trip to Toronto by train I was waiting for baggage at Union Station. I was people watching and noticed something drop from a young man's pouch. I picked up his wad of money and ran frantically through the crowd to locate him. I was looking for the hat he had on and at first didn't recognize him as he had removed it.Then I noticed his clothing and the pouch around his waist which was open. He was so surprised when I approached him as he hadn't even been aware he'd dropped his roll of bills and seemed to really appreciate having them returned.
Elaine, Saint John, Canada


I volunteered in Taipei and Johannesburg, South Africa...
I spent a month in Taipei. During that period I worked at a local orphanage with babies up to two years of age. Even though I don't speak Chinese just holding, hugging and playing with them in addition to covering feeding periods was definitely worthwhile and gave the staff time and a little breathing space. It was most rewarding and one received immediate satisfaction.

Also, during one of my four trips to South Africa I volunteered at Unity College in Johannesburg. This facility caters to 125 children from the ages of 6-20 years of age who are intellectually challenged. I worked with youngsters diagnosed with Down Syndrome, Autism, and a number of other slow learners and the phyically handicapped as well. Needless to say to this was most challenging but I loved every moment of being able to help. After being at the school everyday from 7:30am - 1:30pm for five weeks it was difficult to leave. I did go back in January but only to visit for a day to see "my kids." My heart broke to leave.
Marsha, Montreal, Canada


I paid for a child's medical treatment...
While on the way home from vacation I needed to stop at a local clinic to check my blood levels (I have a history of DVT-deep vein thrombosis). There was a woman ahead of me who did not have the funds to pay her co-pay to get treatment for her child. She asked the staff to bill her, but they refused. I placed the money in her hand and disappeared into the doctors office. I hoped I helped her a little that day.
Ursula, Atlanta, USA


I helped two women with knee problems...
I stopped in a tiny village (they are all tiny!!) in Nepal and sat with two women who both had knee problems. I rubbed Arnica lotion on the painful parts and wrapped their knees with my ace bandages. I was gifted with huge smiles and hugs. My guide had told them I was a "doctor" when really, I'm more than that - I'm a nurse and I'm a healer!
Bonnie, Lake Oswego, USA


We towed a car in Germany...
In the Eighties I lived with my family in West Berlin. At that time Berlin was divided and in order to travel from W. Berlin to W. Germany, one had to drive through East Germany. While driving the highway on New Year's weekend, we saw a couple near a French car waving excitedly. We stopped and they asked if we spoke French. We did and they were thrilled. The car had broken down and there were in trouble. Since East Germany was difficult at any time, let alone on a holiday, we towed them to the border and translated for them at a garage. They were thankful and offered us their hospitality in Tours in the Loire Valley.
Thelma, Hamburg, Germany

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