: a person promoting human welfare and social reform : philanthropist
— humanitarian adjective
— hu·man·i·tar·i·an·ism \-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\ noun
Right now my sister, Alanna, is flying to the South Pacific. Let me explain...
A buddy of mine, Seamus O, who I've known from a fairly young age - we went to the same church growing up, the same high school and even college - has been quite the world traveler since finishing up his college days. He's been extremely active in theater circles and has been a crewman for a sailboat, doing a considerable amount of volunteer work overseas. In all reality, the phrase "doing a considerable amount of volunteer work" doesn't even do justice the works that he has undertaken over the past several years.
Seamus O is an advocate and volunteer for Project MARC in the island nation of Vanuatu (located to the East of Australia and to the West of Fiji). The most basic way to summarize what this organization does, is to say that it provides volunteer medical services to Vanuatu's most remote island communities.
Part of being a Project MARC volunteer involves sailing vessels, building small clinics, and training village health workers. One of the big projects for this year was going to be the construction of a clinic on the West Coast of Santo (an island in the nation of Vanuatu). Because the ships are not available to help them transport supplies, etc., they are not able to get this project underway at this time.
Instead of building this clinic, they will be undertaking an expedition instead, spending the next month or so traveling on foot from village to village, surveying and evaluating each location for what their needs may be (clinics, supplies, training, medical help, etc.) so that these villages may get the medical attention they need.
I now return to my first statement.
Right now my sister, Alanna, is flying to the South Pacific. She is traveling there to do embark on this expedition with Project MARC. Her path crossed Seamus O's over the holidays and she decided that it was just something she wanted to do.
As her big sister, I am a little nervous for her - especially because there will be no contact with her until she sets foot back on American soil - but I am extremely excited that she is taking advantage of this opportunity. I know it will be a challenge for her (mainly because she HATES camping and bugs and will be sleeping in a tent for a month), but I think she will learn so much about herself, and others, in the process. I already can't wait for her to get back, but I am so proud of her and wish her the best of luck on her voyage.
According to Merriam-Webster, a "humanitarian" is a person who promotes human welfare and social reform. The expedition that these individuals are on is, by no means, a simple undertaking. The gifts they give freely - their time, their own money, strength, blood, sweat and tears - emphasize the fact that these individuals fully embody the meaning of this word. Each of these people deserve our prayers, good wishes and utmost respect for changing the lives of the inhabitants of this island nation.
- You can access the Project MARC website here.
- You can access Seamus O's blog here (or on the sidebar of our blog).
- For your information, there are 3 videos that showcase, with considerable detail, the works of this organization (which is a non-governmental organization) by clicking here. The link will take you to the first of three pages (courtesy of Seamus' parents) - each page with a streaming video, 2-5 minutes in length. The links for additional pages/videos are at the top of the first page (1. project MARC, 2. 2008 Donor Thank You, and 3. 2009 Water Project Appeal).