Two different women from two different worlds.

Defining The Trip

By B.E. Bogdon

Credit: Ken Stewart

Nora Stewart, Princess Zulu, & Ken Stewart

April 16, 2014 Updated May 9, 2014 at 10:25 AM EST

HearCare Connection founder, Nora Stewart, knew what it was like to want to do something more. As owners of a Fort Wayne audiology practice, she and her husband, Ken, wanted to use their skills to make a difference in the lives of people who couldn’t afford audiology care. This passion led Nora to start a local non-profit hearing center to care for the under-served in the area. But she didn’t stop there.  She and Ken went on their first international Hearing Mission in Mexico and it surpassed all their expectations. In 2012, they ventured into the Holy Land to work alongside a local audiology practice. On their return home, a local Fort Wayne pastor introduced Nora to Princess Zulu.

Princess is an African born powerhouse who is advocating for the under-served in her own country: Zambia. Princess and Nora met over coffee one day in Chicago, IL where Princess told her story. Princess is HIV positive. She has lost her family to AIDS. She is losing her country to AIDS. She is watching as children become orphans, the poor continue to remain sick because of the lack of access to health care, and a culture slowly continues to disappear. HIV/AIDS has taken over. However, AIDS has not stopped Princess from living.  Princess Zulu preaches, “In the midst of this suffering, I continually remind myself that HIV does not own me or my soul. It is only a visiting stranger in my body. How I choose to respond is up to me and I choose to respond by using my voice to fight for those whose voice cannot be heard.”

Princess started Fountain of Life when she was 22 years old with only $10.00 in her pocket. Her mission was to educate children orphaned by AIDS. Now Fountain of Life has grown to a humanitarian aid organization transforming communities by providing education and health care for some of Zambia’s poorest villages, villages just like the one Princess grew up in.

It is this passion for helping others that has uniquely knit Nora and Princess together. In 2013, Ken and Nora took a vision trip to Zambia with Princess. Their desire was to see the developing clinic in Chibombo first hand. What they saw led them to organize a 2014 Hearing Mission trip to Zambia.

According to the World Health Organization, "over 360 million people world-wide have a debilitating hearing loss." This loss leads to an inability to communicate, social and emotional separation, loss of income, and for most children – no opportunity for an education. Nora and Ken are ready to change all that. The 2014 Hearing Mission will partner with the Fountain of Life clinic in Chibombo, Zambia, to bring qualified audiologists to the local villagers who need hearing healthcare. And you can be a part of it all.

Curtis Smith, 21Alive’s chief meteorologist, will be reporting live from Zambia as part of the 2014 team. His daily coverage will bring you up close and personal with the people and culture of Zambia. Curtis caught the bug for missions in 2013 on his first trip to the Holy Land. Seeing life through the eyes of others and serving the underserved has re-defined success in his own life. Curtis says, “I don’t want my life to end here, I want my life to be beyond.”

As well, living for others has changed the way Princess, Nora and Ken approach their lives. Their success is no longer wrapped up in the job they do but it is now defined in the significance of that job.  According to Princess Zulu, “In so many ways living with HIV is a blessing. Perhaps HIV's biggest realization is that we need to make every day count, for time is running out. This to me seems a good lesson to learn, because whether you are a head of state, a church leader, a scientist, a teacher, a nurse, a parent, a patient, a humanitarian worker, a friend, every human being on earth has this in common: our time to make a difference is limited. We must think hard about the purpose of our life and be deliberate about the legacy we leave behind.” 

Watch Curtis Smith's updates from Afica starting Monday, May 12, 2014 through Friday, May 16, 2014 during the 5:00 PM and 11:00 PM news on ABC21 Alive. 

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