A little over two years ago, Sullivan’s Islander Dr. Carolyn Thiedke travelled to Malawi in southeastern Africa to work with the program Doctors without Borders (or Medecins sans Frontiere) as a physician in an HIV project. While there, Dr. Thiedke met and befriended several of the locals, but there was one small girl that grasped her heartstrings the moment they met. Hannah Mpinganjira lived near the project offices and one day, as Dr. Thiedke was walking home, Hannah ran up to her and asked if she would be her pen pal. “I was totally enchanted by her request, her grasp of English and her spunk,” smiled Dr. Thiedke. Over the months they developed a wonderful relationship and eventually, Dr. Thiedke asked Hannah if she would like to come back to the United States with her and attend school. Hannah was overjoyed and after shuffling through the piles of international paperwork, Hannah attended her first semester at Christ Our King in Mount Pleasant this past school year.
Hannah returned home this summer, but came back at the beginning of the school year, excited about completing her first full year of American school. “I like studying religion the most,” said Hannah. “I like helping people in need and when we’re taught about the word of God, we’re taught about helping each other.” During her time on Sullivan’s Island this year, Hannah has visited the Aquarium in Atlanta – “there was so much cool stuff! I loved walking through the underwater tunnel,” she smiled – and Fort Moultrie, where she learned more about the slave trade between her country and Sullivan’s Island.
“When I went back home to Africa, I had fun with my family and saw all of my friends that I missed, but I couldn’t wait to come back,” said Hannah. Today, Hannah is in eighth grade at Christ Our King.