When Annelies Hubner was eight years old she was enamoured with Africa.
From the fables of Tarzan and Jane she read in comics to the true accounts of Albert Schweitzer and the hospital he built to better the lives of those living there, she found the continent consumed much of her thoughts to the point that she knew more about it than she did of her Germany, the country she grew up in.
She remembers telling her mother:
“When I am grown up I will go to Albert Schweitzer and help him.”
She hasn’t forgotten her mother’s response to this day.
“He will wait for you,” her mother said.
As a child, she wondered what her mother meant by that.
Much has happened since her childhood. She’s travelled throughout Europe, married a French Canadian and immigrated to Quebec. After he unexpectedly died, she married a wonderful man from Nova Scotia and moved to Pictou County.
Sadly in 2012 after years of battling dementia, he too passed away.
Now 69, she found herself alone and for the first time in her adult life, with an abundance of free time.
Friends told her she needed to get out and enjoy life. One suggested she take a cruise. Enjoying life would be great, but a cruise wasn’t her cup of tea.
She started looking into trips to Costa Rica and even found one that would involve a hike up a volcano among other activities. But it appears fate would have another plan. While she was investigating the trip to Costa Rica a window popped up on her computer for Volunteer Africa, so she checked out its website.
The group is one that brings volunteers to Africa to help with humanitarian needs. Hubner thought that perhaps she was too old, but didn’t see any such restrictions mentioned on the site so decided to apply. The non-profit called her back and asked to do an interview and within a short time she found out they would accept her and that for 10 weeks this coming August she has the chance to go to the place of her childhood dreams and help people.
She’s thrilled that the opportunity has finally presented itself and has been busy getting ready for the trip. She’s had her police background check that was asked for as well as the medical requirements met. Now she is preparing to fundraise and go.
Fundraising is a bit of a foreign concept to her, having grown up in a culture where such actions weren’t common, but she’s hoping with the help of the community, she may be able to raise money that will help those living in Third World conditions.
She knows the need is great and that in reality what she does will only go so far, but she believes that if everyone does a little it can make a difference.
“Every little drop helps,” she said.
More information about Volunteer Africa can be found at volunteerafrica.org. There’s a spot on the website where donations are accepted on behalf of the volunteers. Those who wish can make a donation in Hubner’s name there.
On Twitter: NGNewsAdam