Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trip to Thailand Was Just Beginning of Her Journey

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Trip to Thailand Was Just Beginning of Her Journey

Article excerpt

Byline: Charlie Patton, Times-Union staff writer

After graduating from Jacksonville University in the spring of 2002, Megan Libby traveled to Thailand, the trip a graduation present from her parents.

Visiting a floating marketplace by boat, she found herself with an older couple, Irish Catholics who reminded her of her parents. Looking around at the squalor and poverty, "they were just horrified," she remembered.

She had a different experience.

"I thought it was awesome," she said. "The whole trip was a really spiritual experience for me."

Before she made the trip, Libby supposed she would marry her boyfriend and, within a year or two, settle into the life of a wife and mother.

She returned with a new vision. She remembers thinking, "I need to find my path."

Fired by idealism, Libby began searching the Internet for organizations looking for volunteers. The organization she found, the New Zealand-based Global Volunteer Network, was looking for people to go to Nepal and spend three months working in an orphanage.

The particular orphanage in which she will work, beginning in September, is the Prisoner Assistance Mission. Because Nepal has no social service agencies, children whose parents are sent to prison are generally left to fend for themselves.

But being a volunteer is expensive. Libby must pay $550 to Global Volunteer Network and also is responsible for her airfare, entry visa, vaccinations and insurance. So she has launched a fund-raising campaign with a goal of $5,000. …

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