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Clean Water for Cameroon

By Rachel Rees ('09)
French and Nursing Double Major

As I reflect on the past four years I have spent at Hope, I am more and more amazed at the ways in which God has woven together the different threads of my life to create a picture that is so fulfilling and eye opening. I came to college knowing two things: 1) I wanted to be trained in a profession that would allow me to serve other people every single day and 2) whatever my primary major would be, I would also major in French and study overseas. As a nursing major I have found a field that allows me to enter into relationships with people who are hurting and provide for them when they need it most. However, I have also found that my knowledge of French opens up possibilities beyond the confines of the English-speaking world and this revelation excites me even more.

In May 2008 I had the opportunity to participate in a clean water project in Nkuv, Cameroon, a small village innorthwestern Cameroon where English and French are spoken, along with the tribal languages. The project aims to improve water quality through the use of clean water filters, water quantity by the construction of a water distribution system, hygiene through health education teaching, and sanitation. Research shows that addressing these four aspects of health will bring about the greatest health benefit for a community.

This project has challenged me in ways I never would have imagined and has truly shaped the way I view the world. Being able to incorporate my nursing knowledge and my French language skills to communicate with villagers and people in the cities we passed through was exciting and liberating. Over the course of the past two years I have begun to feel a growing pull toward using these gifts to serve people in French speaking countries, preferably in Africa. My heart has grown close to these people and I have found such joy in working alongside them.

I believe God has gifted me with a love for French. Even though I often get questioning looks from people when I tell them I am a nursing and French double major, as that does not seem like a very practical or common combination, I am convinced that both majors will prove to be relevant for the work God has laid out for me to do in this life. I am excited for what lies ahead.