Bits 'n' Pieces: Journey to Africa for Vancouver woman
Friday, August 31, 2012
"The joy is in the journey" is the message on Christina Baldisseri's T-shirt.
This week she journeyed more than 9,276 miles — to Tanzania in East Africa — where she'll spend four months volunteering as the community health officer at a new secondary school in Mungere Village.
Baldisseri, 26, who holds a master's degree in public health from Oregon Health and Science University, was working as an administrative assistant at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center when her life changed course in June.
At a Women in Networking event she heard Ashley Holmer, founder and executive director of the Red Sweater Project, speak about a new secondary school in Tanzania that is transforming the lives of destitute children. The school provides each student a red sweater uniform, feeds the students and teaches them skills to better themselves, their families and their village. The message resonated with Baldisseri, who introduced herself to Holmer and said, "I want to help."
In Tanzania, Baldisseri will do health assessments for the 40 students, provide research related to health initiatives and develop health curriculum.
"I'm excited to be using my degree," she said. "We'll be looking at how education impacts a community's health."
Baldisseri, who has lived in Vancouver since 2003, has traveled to 15 countries, completed a six-month undergraduate study abroad program in Italy, and volunteered in a children's home in Bolivia. Even so, Baldisseri was told she'll be getting her hands dirty and must be prepared to do anything.
"My goal is to change my way of thinking and to get back to fundamentals," Baldisseri said.
Learn more about the Red Sweater Project, which is based in Lake Oswego, Ore., at Red Sweater Project.
— Susan Parrish
Camaraderie is pay enough for TV extra from B.G.
Clark County fans of "Leverage" and "Grimm" might see a local face if they watch those shows with a careful eye.
David Roberts, 43, of Battle Ground has been a recurring extra on both for the past two years.
It's not the most financially rewarding gig, or the most glamorous. But it is a lot of fun, Roberts said.
"I'm really not doing it for the money, it's more for camaraderie," Roberts said. "The pay is pretty much minimum wage."
Roberts supports himself by running an online toy store at D & S Toys. He signed up to be an extra through Extras Only, a Pacific Northwest agency that casts actors for shows.
"We get called in for a lot of episodes," Roberts said. "Usually it's a lot of sitting around at desks or walking around in the background. Extras generally don't have any lines."
He was in five episodes of "Leverage" last year and six this year, and he's a regular cop in the background scenes of "Grimm" this season, Roberts said.
"It's kind of funny," Roberts said. "What ends up getting on camera usually isn't a whole lot. But sometimes I see myself on there. I laugh with my friends that it's like Where's Waldo — or Where's Dave?"
Roberts also does community theater. Right now he's directing a production of "Wait Until Dark" for the Loves Street Playhouse in Woodland, set to run from Oct. 12-31.
— Sue Vorenberg
Bits 'n' Pieces appears Fridays and Saturdays. If you have a story you'd like to share, email firstname.lastname@example.org.