In the Army Now

Dear US Peace Corp,

You know how every now and again that person enters your life and you know they are just good from their head to their toes, from their skin to their core? No matter what happens between you and that person, you know that at their core they are a truly good person and even after you’ve each gone your separate ways, haven’t spoken in years and scarcely think about one another except at a certain time of the year you know they are a good person. There’s nothing surprising when you hear them doing life changing things such as joining the Peace Corp and moving to Ethiopia to help educate the Locals about AIDS and the prevention of the spread of AIDS.

That’s what happened to me.

Thanks to Facebook I was able to connect with an ex-boyfriend I had dated during my time at Colorado State University. We parted and went our separate ways and it’s going on ten years since we’ve spoken (stop trying to do the math!) but reconnecting with him has changed my life,  much the same way as having him in my life once changed it, forever altered by his presence and the fragrance he left behind.

10 months ago Raymael Blackwell embarked on a two-year journey to Ethiopia via the US Peace Corp to educate Africans in the small village he is assigned to about AIDS, the prevention or AIDS and slowing the spread of AIDS in their country. Directly from his blog site he says “Hopelessness is strong and is a dangerous sentiment.” What this man has given his life to do is not easy. He is up against a Hierarchy of needs that literally depends on food, shelter and clothing for survival, doing anything by any means necessary in order to meet those basic needs for themselves and their families.  What that means for the people Raymael comes into contact with on a regular basis is that when forced to make a choice between selling their body in order to meet basic survival needs or preserving their body in order to prevent the further spread of AIDS/HIV people make a basic choice at a basic level to sell their body, risking the contraction of the disease that won’t kill them until LATER in order to meet the needs that they have NOW.

Why? Because it’s real and because it’s so real that there is a need for the United States Peace Corp to send a team over and help to slow and eventually prevent this very real crisis that is affect the human beings on our planet.  This man, Raymael Blackwell, a man after God’s own heart has been able to take on this challenge and allow these humans to inspire him, to build within him a passion and ignite a fire that will change the face of humanity as we know it.

Raymael Joseph Blackwell, I salute you.

Love Always,



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