McDaniel College Budapest 

My Life in Cameroon
To a rapt audience of students and faculty, Krisztina explained how she decided on embarking on a singularly different summer experience: "I wanted to travel; I thought I should do something useful and that' s how I decided to volunteer. This way I could learn much more about a culture than just by traveling." Planet Club, a Hungarian foundation, placed Krisztina in Cameroon with a host family, who she says, were amazing and so nice to me, trying hard to keep me comfortable."

Working along with other volunteers, Krisztina helped to organize a holiday camp for orphans, teaching them English and how to use the computer—and even cooking for them.

Her summer work, however, resulted in mixed feelings, for as Krisztina says, "Before I went [to Cameroon] I thought I was doing a good thing, but when I got there I thought of how I had to leave these kids [at the end of the summer] and return to my normal life. They had already been left before, and somehow this seemed cruel."

Krisztina looked for a way to establish an active, on-going relationship with the children in Cameroon, even if she couldn' t always be with them. As a result, she decided to establish the Smiley Mission Foundation through which she could accept donations and thus take needed items to Cameroon when she returns this coming summer.

With the help of her parents and lawyers, she' s now in the process of legally establishing the foundation whose main goal will be to acquire funds to create more holiday camps for orphans.

"I never imagined how my life would change from going to Cameroon, but helping these children has become a part of my life, now and part of my future," she says.

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Student-led Open Forum: My Life in Cameroon